Student Uncovers "Lost" Video and Photos of the Metropolitan Building

In the fall of 2012, adjunct teaching assistant professor Jim Dozier (Architecture) asked students in his 3D Architectural Modeling and Design course to create detailed 3D computer models of a significant work of architecture. B.D.A student Theodore Wright wanted to create something with lasting implications. Working with Dozier, he rendered a repository of “lost” Rapson buildings for the Virtual Reality Design Lab in Rapson Hall.

ChateauDining1.jpgThe first model they created was the Chateau (also known as the U of M’s Students’ Cooperative Dining Club). It was built in 1964 and only stood for 9 years. It was replaced with a housing structure of the same name. Part of Wright’s research involved interviewing Kay Lockhart (B.A. Arch ’57, B.Arch ’58) who helped design the building.

Wright and Dozier are currently finishing a model of the Pillsbury Residence, which stood from 1967 to 1997, and have plans to model the original Guthrie Theater. With the help of UROP funds, Wright expanded his project to include the Metropolitan building.

Despite warnings that he wouldn’t be able to find enough Thumbnail image for JMscan1_JMscan1-R1-E011.jpginformation, he uncovered 84 black & white photos, 39 color photos, and a video taken by an architect named John Mesick (pictured right) just months before the building was razed in 1961. Mesick is a partner at Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects, LLP.

“From the get go individuals attempted to temper my expectations,” said Wright. “Despite nothing being readily available the research has yielded some fantastic results including a floor plan of the 2nd floor and a floor plan of the upper floor.” The photos by Mesick represent some of the only color photographs ever taken of the building and have never been seen before.

“They show this lost jewel of Minneapolis,” said Wright. The photos were gifted to the Northwest Architectural Archives in the spring of 2013.


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