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Minneapolis, Minnesota Stagnates at Its 1972 Height, Wit...

Minneapolis, Minnesota Stagnates at Its 1972 Height, Without Restrictions

Cities are defined by their skylines. A picturesque view of a beautiful downtown forest of skyscrapers can be an incredibly sublime and beautiful sight. People seem to be enamored by buildings that soar high above them, making themselves feel incredibly small. Downtowns are living organisms and are constantly evolving, growing, and extending further into the

IDS Tower, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cities are defined by their skylines. A picturesque view of a beautiful downtown forest of skyscrapers can be an incredibly sublime and beautiful sight. People seem to be enamored by buildings that soar high above them, making themselves feel incredibly small. Downtowns are living organisms and are constantly evolving, growing, and extending further into the sky. The “title” of being a major city’s tallest building is sought after and this can result into a competitive push by developers. In fast developing major metropolitan downtown areas it has become common that taller buildings will be built over time. Minneapolis is a fascinating case of this, as no new building has surpassed the height of the famous IDS Center; which was completed in 1972, with no building code forbidding it from be surpassed.

When the Foshay Tower (the brown obelisk-shaped building at the base of the IDS in the photograph), was completed in downtown Minneapolis in 1929 it became the tallest building in the State at 429 feet. Forty-three years later in 1972, Philip Johnson would leave his mark on the Minneapolis skyline with the 792-foot tall IDS Center (The tall blue building on the left side of the photo). Interestingly, no building has surpassed the height of the IDS Center since completion. Several have come close, with two in particular: the 778-foot tall Capella Tower (the building with the cylinder shaped top on the right-hand side of the image) and the 774-foot tall Wells Fargo Center (the gold-colored building near the center of the image).

Minneapolis Skyline, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Most major metropolitan areas have had a new building surpass the height of the building that was the tallest in the city in 1972. For example: Los Angeles; New York; Seattle; Houston; Dallas; Chicago; Atlanta; Miami; Columbus; Las Vegas; Boston; Kansas City; Baltimore; Denver; San Diego; and Detroit have all seen their tallest building in 1972 surpassed. That is not a complete list either, with many other major cities also witnessing this. Why has Minneapolis not? Even its next door neighbor - St. Paul - received several new buildings whose height eclipses that of the city’s 1972 record holder.

Minneapolis Skyline in 1972, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Currently in Minneapolis, the tallest building under construction is the 376 foot tall LPM Apartment Tower. The tallest building which has been proposed in recent memory was The Nicollet, a residential tower which was planned to top out at 656 feet but the project dissolved before construction. What does the future hold? There have been rumors about the Target Corporation building a tower downtown, however there is much speculation on whether this will happen. Even if it does there is no guarantee that it would surpass the IDS Center.

All of this raises an important question: does it even matter? If a building were to be constructed which was taller than the IDS Center, what would that do for the city or state? Downtown areas are judged by their skylines, with new beautiful buildings – especially ones that stretch higher into the sky - frequently seen as symbols of prosperity, development, and a healthy city. It would be interesting to see an incredible piece of architecture stretch into the sky of Minneapolis higher than ever, however, developing such large structures carries a lot of financial risk. We've yet to see anyone come into the community willing to bear such burden, but there is hope.

Would you like to see a new tallest building rise in your city? What is the current tallest building in your community and are there any height restrictions? Share your city's stories in the comments below.

Credits: Images by Wyatt Prosch. Data Linked to sources.

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Wyatt Prosch is currently a student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities pursuing a degree in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture. Born and raised in Minnesota, his passion for architecture has been encouraged by the incredible design of th...

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