Southeast Community Library, Minneapolis, MN

Ralph Rapson is renowned in Minneapolis, having a prolific body of work from more than 50 years of an architectural practice in Minnesota alone.  However his buildings have not always fared so well. The Twin Cities lost one of his most famed commissions, the Guthrie Theater, in 2006, as well as at least one church and residence in recent years. The Southeast Community Library is another Rapson building that has been threatened over the past few years and whose future remains unclear.

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Originally a credit union designed by Rapson in 1964, the building was remodeled by Rapson and reopened as a library in 1967. But the years have worn on the building and it is slated to close soon. On the table are replacement or rehabilitation. The city has expressed a strong interest at times to saving the building but things are still opaque.

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The one story building is raised  and setback from the street. The design is dominated by a protruding, heavy concrete overhang and the materials are muted in browns and grays. The formality of the building is appealing from a modernist standpoint but it is also understandable how this design has not served well as a library. Here is hoping a reuse can be found, whether remaining as a library or as some other community need.

Source: Larry Millett, AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2007.

 

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