MINNEAPOLIS — The new Nelson Cultural Center at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) helps make the museum a significant regional cultural center for Nordic arts, music, cuisine, craft and culture.
The new center features a new cafe serving Nordic-inspired cuisine, coffee and pastries; new museum shop space; a flexible event space seating 300 for a lecture or concert or 225 for dinner; a glass-enclosed reception commons; new galleries for traveling and ASI-originated exhibits; a large studio and crafts workshop; and expanded spaces for meetings, events and community gatherings.
Named after benefactors Carl and Leslie Nelson, the 34,000-square-foot addition is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification and features a sloping green roof and a geothermal system for heating and cooling.
The new construction is on Park Avenue, south of the ASI’s Turnblad Mansion, and is connected by new elevator/stairway circulation tower with a courtyard between the buildings.
The center’s slate exterior is designed to echo the mansion’s roof and complement the light limestone of the structure. Two-story windows frame views of the mansion.
Renovations to the lower level of the Turnblad Mansion and the connected 1983 addition were completed in 2011.
The project also includes a large plaza area for festivals and neighborhood gatherings, improved parking and other major landscaping upgrades.
The Nelson Cultural Center also houses Twin Cities outreach for St. Peter, Minn.-based Gustavus Adolphus College.
Swedish King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia will officially open the new center during a royal visit in October.