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An oxidized-steel landmark will adorn the eastern edge of campus, thanks to the work of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, the University of Minnesota Foundation, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation. This gift to the University is part of the effort to build a Scholars' Walk to honor academic achievements and to complete the Gateway Plaza, which was also a gift to the U from the same partners. (View from Washington Avenue.)
Landmark art coming to Gateway Plaza
From M, summer 2004
A landmark work of art will soon grace the southeastern corner of the Minneapolis campus, thanks to the talent of Antoine Predock and the work of the University Gateway Corporation. The University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted to add a Gateway Plaza landmark to the already approved Scholars' Walk project in December. The plaza landmark will honor the University's founding and be a place to note great alumni. Following the contour of the grassy berm along Oak Street, the monument will extend from Washington Avenue for more than 200 feet towards the McNamara Alumni Center entrance. The exterior will be an oxidized steel, similar in color to the copper that covers much of the alumni center. Angled sides will rise to more than 20 feet near the center of the structure. The landmark will include space for the names of alumni who have earned the University's Outstanding Achievement Award. Several thousand tiny holes on the exterior surface will be lighted from within the structure, creating an artistic representation of the night sky as it appeared on February 25, 1851, the date of the University's charter, according to Tom LaSalle, owners representative for the Gateway Corporation. "Antoine Predock is again honoring Minnesota's heritage in this work," LaSalle says of the world-renowned architect, who also created the alumni center and plaza. "There's steel [which is mostly iron], the vast night sky, and again the inspiration drawn from the cliffs of Lake Superior." The landmark will also include a "day chamber," a viewing space with an overhanging roof. Tiny holes in the steel roof will direct sunlight onto an angled stainless steel panel below, creating an impression of constellations. "This landmark not only finishes framing out the plaza, but the hope is this will be something that people want to go see," LaSalle says. "I don't think you're going to find anything like this elsewhere." The other part of the project, the Scholars' Walk, will run west from the McNamara Alumni Center and feature monuments to the U's Nobel Prize winners and recipients of other prestigious academic awards. The UMAA, the University of Minnesota Foundation, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation own the nonprofit Gateway Corporation. The corporation has already built the McNamara Alumni Center and the Gateway Plaza without using public funds. Fred Friswold (B.A. '58), volunteer chairman of the corporation and a former UMAA president, says that the walk and monument will be completed with private funds, with an endowment created for ongoing maintenance. Discussions with potential donors are in progress, Friswold said. "It would really be exciting to get this project under way in the alumni association's 100th anniversary year."