Nicollet Mall

Nicollet Mall
Lawrence Halprin and Associates
Downtown Council of Minneapolis
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urbanism

In 1962, seeking to redress the challenges facing urban centers during the height of American suburbanization, the Downtown Council of Minneapolis, a collective of major business entities, commissioned noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin to create a new outdoor pedestrian-oriented mall. Halprin employed his unique “motation” design process—a choreography of movement through space—that resulted in the creation of a narrow serpentine roadway accessible to only buses and taxis, wide sidewalks for pedestrians that could host amenities such as fountains, planters, seating, and cafés, which created important nodes for social gathering. Despite its success, in the late 1980s Nicollet Mall would undergo a major design renovation that would eliminate many of these important features. In 2014, landscape architects James Corner Field Operations of New York with local partner SnowKreilich Architects were commissioned to redesign the Mall.