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1.7 acres, an L-shaped assemblage between 6th–7th streets South and Second–Third avenues in the commercial district

Index to Projects in Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Gross Floor Area
1.9 million
(including 328,000 s/f parking/services)

IBM Associates Limited Partnership, a Joint Venture of IBM Corporation (Managing Partner) and The OPUS Corporation, Minneapolis, MN

Time Frame
   Early 1988–
   Early 1989–
   October 1992

LEED Gold Certified
(Existing Building)

Capella Tower (originally First Bank Place

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Completed 1992


Lead Designer: James Ingo Freed


Investment office building with public space, retail and underground parking

Click on image to enlarge

This office complex, erected on an L-shaped site, is a rationalized response to disparate urban conditions and also to the need to accommodate two major corporate tenants with individual identities. In solution, the building includes a 58-story tower that acknowledges nearby high-rises, a 20-story building that responds to mid-rise neighbors and defines a previously borderless park, and finally, a corner winter garden that hinges the complex together while focusing smaller-scale historic landmarks.

The mass is built up with six-story cubes, or locally scaled building blocks, and round towers of various heights and diameter that speak to the larger city. Each component has a different orientation and grid pattern, but all are unified by a common geometry, related materials and a ground-level arcade. Atop the whole is an illuminated crown which, housing an antennae farm and communications network, signals the existence of a significant urban event in this part of the city.

The building's base is carved away to create a permeable membrane of public amenity and circulation. Street life is thus revalidated in a city where pedestrian traffic has been largely rerouted through elevated skywalks. First Bank Place itself plays a key role in the skywalk system, providing shelter from Minneapolis's sub-zero winters by means of bridges to neighboring buildings.


Major Components

1.4 million s/f offices in 278-foot high 20-story building (typical floor 56,000 s/f) 775-foot high 58-story tower (typical floor 18,000 s/f); 100,000 s/f retail and public space including winter garden and skywalks (levels 1-2); parking for 450 cars on 3 levels below grade + 1 service level (328,000 s/f)


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners services

Urban Design; Site Planning; Architectural Design; Interior Design of public spaces; coordination with associate architect on construction documents and construction administration


Associate Architect

HKS, Inc., Dallas, TX



CBM Engineers, Houston, TX



Cosentini Associates LLP, New York, NY



Photo credits

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