Tag Archives: University of MN

STSS building tour – University of MN, Minneapolis

The other day we were treated to a tour of the Science Teaching & Student Services (STSS) building on the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota, otherwise known as my new employer.  Can I just say how much I love it there?!?!!  I do, I do!!  It’s so important to have the right job.  But that is a post for another day.

The tour was arranged by our director and there were about 18 of us that went and we all had a great time.  We went in different groups and the group that I was in just happened to be the four newbies to the team, with me being the second newest.  I didn’t bring a lunch that day so we went to Chipotle to eat before heading over the Washington Avenue bridge to arrive at the STSS building.  It’s about a 20 minute walk door to door.

A slightly off photo of our destination:

Check out this video that I found about the building when it opened several years ago.   It replaced an old science building and the foundation from that building remained and materials recycled to create this new one.  As the video says, it’s one of the greenest buildings on campus using the latest in sustainable heating and cooling.  The entire west side of the building (seen here) is made of glass that contains a convection system of ceramic window dots called frits.  These frits heat the building in winter.  All of the administrative offices are on this side, facing west, while the classrooms, study areas and meeting places are on the other side.

There are many student services here including student account assistance, One Stop student services, career services, undergraduate academic and advising services and an interview center.  There are also what I referred to as “the classroom of the future” and the video calls them the same thing.  There are ten of these Active Learning Classrooms featuring large round tables, switchable laptop-based technology, fixed flat-panel display projection systems, a central teaching station that display table-specific information and a 360 degree marker board around the perimeter of the rooms. (copied from the information handed out at the beginning of our tour)

As if all of this wasn’t interesting enough, check out this cool piece of art hanging from the 5th level ceiling and attached to the ground floor. It’s within the main staircase, called “A-spire” and was created by Minnesota-based artist Alexander Tylevich.  Looking down:

Looking up:

When it was time to return to work we headed out the door to walk back over the Washington Avenue bridge.  One can’t help but notice the unique architecture of the Weisman Art Museum directly across from STSS.  I recently visited the museum and have a post about that at the link.  Do check it out.  I really enjoyed that museum and I think it’s time to pay another visit.

We had walked on the uncovered part of the bridge on the way over so we decided to walk in the covered portion upon our return.  Inside the walls are covered with painted “posters” advertising all sort of clubs and services on and around campus.  Here are a handul of those.

All in all a very successful and interesting adventure.  What a treat to get to visit other parts of campus.  If you have the chance to visit, do check out this building.  As soon as you step in the doors you feel like you’ve been transported to the future.




Filed under Minnesota

our adventure to Coffman Memorial Union, U of MN

My daughter and I ventured over to the east bank campus of the University of Minnesota last weekend to do a little shopping.  As a new employee of the university I received a 25% off coupon to use at any bookstore.  It expired at the end of June and I needed a new sweatshirt to wear to the cabin at the end of this month so I took Miss M with me and we had a fun and successful shopping trip.  I also wanted to try my parking key card because I should have reciprocal parking privileges for the lot we needed to park in.  And of course my key card worked so we got to park for free!!

This particular garage is under ground and the Gopher Way is attached to it.  Gopher Way is a series of tunnels connecting all sorts of buildings at the University.  And the university is so progressive with its lighting.  They must have sensors in them to know when people are near.  When you enter the doors to the tunnels the lights come on to guide you and then dim behind you as you move along.  I wonder what the energy savings are for this lighting.  I think it’s pretty darn cool!!

There are helpful signs along the way:

It’s a fairly short walk to Coffman and we end up at the bottom of these stairs:

At the top of the stairs we’re greeted with this huge M:

Then up the escalator to ground level:

And then the bookstore:

We had such fun checking out all the clothing!!  We ended up buying a sweatshirt for each of us, a t-shirt for each of us and Miss M bought two books as well.


Filed under Minnesota

Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

It was a perfect winter day to visit the Weisman Art Museum.  I have wanted to visit this museum for quite some time and today my husband and I finally went and it was more than I expected.  My only regret is that it was much too cold to get photos of the outside of the museum.  It was designed by Frank O. Gehry and is reminiscent of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.  I snapped this photo from the car so it’s not the best quality but it will suffice for my tale here.

It’s a small museum with all the artworks contained on one floor, but both hubby and I commented that it was just big enough.  Our eyes were “full” by the time we were done.  Most of what’s on display are paintings by American modern artists.  There are some sculptures as well and the museum is full of light and has rich wooden floors.  It was very warm and welcoming.


A view of those beautiful floors:

I loved this colorful painting by Kenny Scharf call Moda de Mangue.  The mangrove tree grows in Brazil:

In the same room were a handful of paintings by Orval Dillingham.  This one particularly caught my eye and reminded me of some Picasso paintings I have seen:

Just opposite this painting was a piece of art that took up an entire wall.  The artist, James Rosenquist, made his living as a billboard artist and I believe the art pictured here used to be billboards or parts of billboards:

In another room there was a public artwork space with installations by Diane Willow.  There was a sign on the wall that invited studio visitors to participate.  So, we took a stroll through this interesting installation that was hanging from the ceiling:

Another colorful painting by Jacob Lawrence entitled Dancing Doll:

Another room had many pieces of art by Charles Biederman.  Hubby really enjoyed the very colorful one with bits of squares and rectangles stuck together and jutting out from a canvas.

The Pedicord Apts. was an interesting exhibit.  Edward and Nancy Kienholz recreated a hallway of a run-down residence hotel in Spokane Washington.  The visitor stands close to each door and hears something different going on in each apartment. I remember hearing a child crying in one, a man talking with his wife in another and either a radio or television playing in yet another apartment.  The plaque on the outside of the exhibit mentioned that the hallway gets smaller the further you go in and suggested that one might feel claustrophobic. I didn’t feel that way but it certainly was an interesting exhibit.

And now the painting that piqued my interest in this museum.  I’m a huge fan of Georgia O’Keefe so when I read years ago that there was one of her paintings here, I knew I had to come see it.  And it did not disappoint. An interesting tidbit on the plaque next to this one was that it was originally hung vertically. But after some research it was discovered that it was painted horizontally so it was rehung.  I love the colors in Georgia’s poppies:

This impressionist view of the excavation for Penn Station in New York caught my eye.  The name of the painting is Excavation but I didn’t note the artist:

Another view of a room with Georgia O’Keefe’s painting in the background and another look at those beautiful wood floors:

There was a small collection of Korean furniture:

And this curious sculpture whose name I forgot to document. The view is different from each angle:

“Executive in red chair” is Mr. Weisman’s father.  I thought he was a real person!

Hubby was entranced by this one and at first glance it reminded me of a Bosch painting.  It’s called Protection of White Womanhood by Walter Quirt.  It depicts the trial of nine black men, known as the Scottsboro Boys, who allegedly raped two white women in Alabama in 1931.

I wish I had had more energy to watch some of the videos in this exhibit but this was the end of our tour and as I mentioned above, our eyes and minds were full.  I will definitely be coming back so perhaps next time I’ll visit this exhibit more fully. Here is the plaque on the wall that describes the exhibit and some of the portraits:

Frederick Weisman portrait by Andy Warhol:

The last thing we saw was the great view out the window of downtown Minneapolis and the Washington Avenue bridge:

I highly recommend this museum.  It’s free and there is a parking garage underneath which is very convenient but there is a fee to park there.  I imagine on warmer days one could find cheaper parking on the street.

Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 625-9494

I’m also participating in my friend Marianne’s “one trip a month” challenge.  I have many places I’ve been meaning to visit and the Weisman museum had been on my mind lately so it was the perfect opportunity to participate.  Check out other trips at the link or participate yourself.  Enjoy!


Filed under Minnesota, Travel