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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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For Clairo, “the third time’s the Charm.”
Review: “Charm” by Clairo
Published July 21, 2024

A better nickname community

Riverside Plaza is a monument of the Twin Cities, as well as the people living here.

Most members of the University community are familiar with only the sight of the six multicolored towers that make up Riverside Plaza near the West Bank. It is unfortunate that many students refer to the complex as “the crack stacks” or as an unattractive building, when they likely know little about it.

Cedar-Riverside was constructed in 1973 under the architecture of Ralph Rapson. Rapson is a famous name in the University community – he served as the head of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture from 1954 to 1984. He is one of the most prized architects in Minnesota, still working today at more than 90 years old.

Riverside Plaza is very important in the history of the Twin Cities. The buildings were built as part of the largest urban renewal project the Cities had ever attempted. Fourteen towers originally were proposed to house people from a variety of incomes and cultures. It was proposed to be a self-serving, beneficial and healthy place to live.

Although only six buildings were built, the plaza still is serving its proposed purpose as a beneficial place to live. The plaza now is home to mostly new immigrants. This provides for a richly diverse atmosphere within the walls of the buildings. The communities within are immersed in city culture and vice versa. There aren’t two groups of people – the city and the tower residents coexist and serve each other.

The building is also a monument to architecture. The design was incredibly modern for its time and won many awards. The complex even has received awards as recent as 2004, when it was given the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ 25 Year Award.

So next time you look up at the concrete towers that are Riverside Plaza, consider what vibrant life exists within those walls. Consider who exists there and how they exist. Consider the legacy that the building continues to serve. Think of it as a product of its time that is continuing to positively impact the lives of many – “the crack stacks” it is not.

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