Nordstjernan spoke to Bruce Karstadt, president and CEO at the American Swedish Institute, about the design of the new building.
The official grand opening for the newest landmark in Minneapolis, the Carl and Leslie Nelson Cultural Center, will take place on June 30. Construction of the new Nelson Cultural Center (a 34,000 square foot addition to the American Swedish Institute, named for benefactors Carl and Leslie Nelson) and renovations to the lower level of the American Swedish Institute’s Turnblad Mansion began in May 2011. The design is surprisingly modern and angular. We asked Bruce Karstadt, president and CEO at the American Swedish Institute, if a giant Swedish red cottage would not have been a better symbol for Sweden? And besides, doesn’t this building look a bit drab?
“Not at all,” Karstadt said. “There are different aspects of Scandinavian and Swedish design. Early on, we were presented with a dilemma: We have this castle-like building on campus (the Turnblad mansion) and we now had the opportunity to build a modern building, and the two needed to be attached. We had to keep in mind the historic part of campus and the modern. The new building needed to have clean lines—I think it has clean, Nordic lines, and it recedes from view so that you see the mansion. The new building is entirely green, which of course is an homage to our Scandinavian and Swedish heritage.”
In what way is it green?
“It is covered in dark slate, a natural material, heating and cooling is green, and the building materials used are all sustainable.”
Karstadt confirmed that local Scandinavian clubs will have access to using the new center.
The opening will feature loads of fun stuff. Says ASI media contact Jennifer Stromberg: “It will be an all-day event, which will kick off at 11 a.m. with family activities, performances of various music groups and folk dancers, and craft demonstrations. There will be women’s and men’s choirs, a ‘korvkiosk’ (a hot dog stand), an inflatable jumping castle for the children, and a local glassblower will demonstrate Swedish style glassblowing. Mayor of Minneapolis R.T. Rybak will be speaking, as will Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Jonas Hafström. We are expecting a few thousand people to come.”
On October 5 and 6 King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will come for the dedication of the new campus.
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