University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

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Dean Tom Fisher Appears in the New Documentary "10 Buildings that Changed America"'

By Design at Minnesota
May 13, '13 11:33 AM EST

A new PBS documentary, "10 Buildings that Changed America," turns the spotlight on Edina's Southdale Center, built in 1959 by Austrian-born architect Victor Gruen. "And no, it's not because of the food court," quiped the Star Tribune in a preview last week.

The documentary includes an interview between College of Design dean Tom Fisher and WTTW host Geoffrey Baer on location, talking about the early days of the mall, when men wore suits and women got dressed up with high heels and pearls. In the early days, Southdale's Garden Court was a conservatory with birds and ponds, and the building was air conditioned in the summer using water from Lake Corneila.

"Southdale's model of turning the shopping center inward on two floors with department stores at the ends of the concourses was emulated in most malls that were built afterward," said Fisher in a Sun Current article about the show.

Other buildings highlighted include the Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, Va.; Trinity Church, Boston; Wainright Building, St. Louis, Mo.; Robie House, Chicago; Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, Mich.; Seagram Building, New York; Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Va.; and Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.