Architecture MN is at the end of its run, and what a great run it’s been. What’s next is ENTER, the digital weekly and annual print publication that will replace Architecture MN starting in January 2021.

By Mary-Margaret Zindren

There is a unique electricity in this moment.

It’s a feeling that reminds me of the first time I walked out onto the high dive. It was the early 1980s in Green Bay, Wisconsin, when they still had three-meters-high platforms at public pools. I can feel the solid surface under my feet, but my stomach is a swirl of anticipation and fear. I’m recognizing that the handrails that guided me upward and outward are now behind me; there is no turning back. Yet all this trepidation is outweighed by a powerful intention—a commitment to move forward; to take the leap, fall through the open air, and plunge deep into the water.

As our Minnesota community comes to grips with the converging and evolving crises of racial injustice, climate change, and the global pandemic, there are very few knowns; we have more questions than answers. But we do know change is not just inevitable; it is imperative. We know that a bright future can only be created if the ambiguity of the unknown is embraced and we recognize that what got us to today won’t bring us to our highest and best potential tomorrow.

We also know that to reach that potential, all who influence the future—in particular, the future of the built environment—need to be better connected to each other. We need to grow our collective awareness of the systems of the past and present, and challenge our assumptions. We need to ask timely questions, amplify insights, and actively explore a wide range of solutions. We need dedicated attention to the most challenging issues of our times and regular inspiration to spark innovation, to keep joy and love in our work, and to not lose momentum in our efforts.

And, at AIA Minnesota, we know that a bimonthly print magazine just isn’t well suited to this purpose.

Architecture MN is at the end of its run, and what a great run it’s been. With this final issue, we’re celebrating where we’ve been and what we’ve learned, while at the same time eagerly imagining and preparing for what’s next.

What’s next is ENTER, the digital weekly and annual print publication that will replace Architecture MN starting in January 2021.

While this change was in the works for a long time—the decision to embrace the benefits of more frequent digital content and less frequent print publication was made with unanimous support of the AIA Minnesota board of directors more than 18 months ago—the events of the past six months have given us even greater confidence that this is the right path forward.

Architecture MN has never been static. It has won awards year after year because it has evolved and become better over time. The credit for that upward progress, that deep commitment to continuous improvement, lies solidly with a team of collaborators and contributors (see below) led by Chris Hudson, who has been the editor of Architecture MN for more than 15 years. While my history with Architecture MN does not extend back to before Chris’s time, simply looking at past issues of the magazine over the decades shows that previous editors—Camille LeFevre, Eric Kudalis, Heidi Fischer, Linda Mack, and Bill Houseman—had a similar commitment to excellence and desire to meet the moment, and aimed to both anticipate and help shape the future.

Meeting the moment, anticipating and shaping what’s next—this is what Minnesota’s architects and architectural designers do. They are inherently future-focused; they have to be because it often takes years to move from the first client conversation to the final punch list, and the resulting project needs to serve its intended and ever-evolving purposes for decades to come.

But architects and designers don’t create architecture alone. The work of architecture is a deeply collaborative endeavor. The built environment is a system within which a wide variety of leaders, influencers, decision-makers, and visionaries continually determine what is kept, what is lost, and what is created.

This collective sensibility is at the core of ENTER. Chris and I are excited to engage a wider array of contributors in shaping original weekly content and in highlighting the most relevant and inspiring stories that lift up Minnesota communities and further equity, climate action, economy, innovation, and beauty in the built environment. Once a year, we also aim to go up a few thousand feet and assess where the built environment has been and where it’s headed, in a printed format designed to be substantial and worthy of keeping for years to come.

The future is what we collectively shape it to be. This is true for the future of ENTER, the future of architecture, and the future of our communities. We’re excited to welcome you up to the platform and to plunge into the work of creating the future, together. 

As we bring Architecture MN to a celebratory close, we are reminded yet again of the many talented contributors and collaborators who have left their mark on the magazine. The variety of bylines and photo credits in this issue is just a sampling of the writers and photographers who have brought this publication to life since its most recent redesign in 2006. A complete list of regular and recurring contributors can be found on page 9 of the print edition.

For our readers, the following pages offer what we hope is a compelling chronicle of people, places, and ideas that shape Minnesota’s built environment. For our team, every page is a memory of a conversation with a writer at a coffee shop or diner, or of a shoot at an inspiring location with a photographer. We could not be more grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to work with talented creatives who are as engaged by design and design thinking as we are.

While there are too many important contributors to list in this space, we do want to thank two people individually. LN Design Co.’s Kären Larson and Ingrid Noble, whose firm grew out of Tilka Design in 2017, have been our creative partners for more than a decade, and we are profoundly indebted to them for their design direction and deep commitment to quality in everything they do. Architecture MN has won a string of top design awards, but it’s our day-to-day collaboration with Kären and Ingrid that we’ve valued the most in our creative journey.