Loof-Pedersen

The Guthrie, Minneapolis's vanguard of American theater, moves into its new home on the Mississippi River, showcasing a bold design by maverick French architect Jean Nouvel. Raul Barreneche takes a tour

Raul Barreneche
April 06, 2009

Jean Nouvel wears all black, all the time, but the Parisian is a master of designing buildings saturated in moody, powerful primary hues. His first completed project in the United States—and Minneapolis's latest architectural wonder—is no exception. Nouvel's building for the pioneering Guthrie Theater is sheathed in midnight-blue stainless steel and infused throughout with remarkable light-sensitive colors. In form, the three-theater complex, which opened in June, reflects the spare but strong profiles of neighboring silos and flour mills: a 1,100-seat signature thrust stage and 700-seat proscenium theater rise four stories above the ground; a 178-foot-long cantilevered bridge extends beyond the main lobby toward the Mississippi. For its inaugural production, the Wurtele Thrust Stage has mounted the premiere of The Great Gatsby, a dramatic adaptation of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a native of neighboring St. Paul (through September 10). 818 S. Second St.; 612/377-2224; www.guthrietheater.org.

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