Peavey Plaza was designed to be the “living room” of downtown Minneapolis. The iconic sunken plaza, anchored in the southwest corner by a cascading concrete fountain, was constructed in 1975 in tandem with Orchestra Hall and served as a complement to the newly constructed Nicollet Mall. The plaza balanced the tranquility of a large central reflecting pool with active programming that filled the plaza throughout the year. After years of disrepair and increasingly challenging accessibility, the City of Minneapolis, in partnership with the State of Minnesota and private donors, is revitalizing the Plaza.
The new design respects the plaza’s status on the National Register of Historic Places while providing inclusive accessibility and an expanded ability to program and activate the space. The design has been led by Minneapolis-based Landscape Architects Coen+Partners with consultation from Preservation Design Works. The design process has included extensive collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Cultural Landscape Foundation, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, Preserve Minneapolis, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Minnesota Orchestra, Green Minneapolis, the Downtown Council and representatives from the accessibility community.
The revitalization will start with extensive preservation, repair and reconstruction of historic elements throughout the plaza. The proposed design will also feature a shallow, fully accessible reflecting pool and upgraded fountain mechanical systems that will reduce water consumption by up to 90 percent. New ramps will be introduced to provide accessibility to nearly all levels of the terraced one-acre space. The design also focuses on improved sight lines and lighting to improve safety, while maintaining the unique spatial quality of the plaza.