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University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Campus Cherishes i...

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Campus Cherishes its Architectural Roots

Many universities in the United States work hard to preserve their campuses’ historic architecture. In fact, many schools cherish their old buildings so much that it even plays a part in their recruitment programs. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota is no exception, boasting some of the finest and historic academic buildings

The Northrup Auditorium's front facade is illuminated at night, including its spectacular ionic colonnade.

Many universities in the United States work hard to preserve their campuses’ historic architecture. In fact, many schools cherish their old buildings so much that it even plays a part in their recruitment programs. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota is no exception, boasting some of the finest and historic academic buildings in the country.

This massive, 2,730-acre campus holds a total of 265 buildings. The Knoll area, which occupies the Northwestern portion of the East Bank area of campus (referring to its location on the East bank of the Mississippi River), is the oldest part of the University. This group of thirteen, century-old buildings forms the University of Minnesota’s Old Campus Historic District, which is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. These buildings, which were constructed between 1886 and 1907, reflect the University’s beginnings and demonstrate its commitment to historic preservation.

Also on the campus’ East bank is the Northrop Mall, a long rectangular green space surrounded by the University’s primary buildings. It is surrounded by the Walter Library, the Tate Lab of Physics, and buildings housing the Mathematics, Chemistry, Science and Engineering, and Liberal Arts colleges. An epicenter of learning, this main gathering area bustles with student life. Having been constructed between 1924 and 1940, all of these buildings have undergone some form of renovation in order to keep them up to code and functioning to their very best.

Coffman Memorial Union, located at one end of the Northrup Mall on the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus.

At one end of the Mall sits the Coffman Memorial Union, the campus student center. At the other end stands the recently renovated Northrop Memorial Auditorium, a building originally opened in 1929. This stunning theater underwent an intense thirty-eight month rehabilitation process that reinvented the interior while keeping its exterior, including its ionic colonnade, perfectly intact. On April 4, 2014, the renovated Northrop reopened to critical acclaim.

The theater has hosted an assortment of events, performances, and speakers throughout the years. From lectures and graduation ceremonies, to hearing inspirational words from Martin Luther King Jr., and songs from Bob Dylan, the auditorium has always facilitated the advancement of learning. The symbolism that Northrup has within and beyond the University community is immense. Renovating the building into a state-of-the-art facility has allowed future generations to enjoy this incredible university icon for many years to come.

Is your university of alma mater known for its architecture? What are the most historical buildings on your college or alma mater's campus? In what way does your academic institution preserve its historic buildings? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments area 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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