612.558.5383 alex@awharchitects.com

Grainbelt Brewery

Minneapolis, MN


Paper Architecture 

Located on an empty site adjacent to the historic Grain Belt Complex, AWH Architects along with Lazor Office and Simek Realty responded to a 2011 RFP from the City of Minneapolis to develop the site. The design proposed a multi-family complex with a twist. Rather than the typical dreaded double loaded corridor 1+4 stick frame maxed out development laminated with a variety of external skins to dress it up, the design proposed a multi-tiered “wedding cake” form comprised of 4 variants of pre-fabricated units ranging from 500 sf studios to 1000 sf 3 bedrooms. The design promoted movement, social interaction, a formal relationship with the historic Grain Belt “Catherdal” like primary elevation, and access to daylight and air movement. Simple, yet elegant materials and details were utilized to provide a fresh alternate to the status quo and to clearly differentiate from the historic buildings. A central shared street ran down the middle of the complex with each unit having its own outside deck space overlooking the street. Solar arrays along with rainwater capture coupled with the high-efficiency of pre-fabrication combined to promote maximum sustainability.