Fast Horse Office Renovation Earns AIA MN Honor Award

December 4, 2015
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This evening, we have the honor of crashing a black tie gala at the Minnesota History Center, where our building renovation will be awarded one of 11 AIA MN Honor Awards. Our project will be recognized along with some pretty amazing local projects, including the new CHS Field, The Ordway renovation and the Surly facility.

We’ve written many times here about our unique working environment. For the past nine years or so, we have operated in more of a co-working arrangement, with no assigned desks. We offer our people extraordinary flexibility to work when and where they are most productive, and the collaboration, integration and team building that results from our amorphous office setting is a big part of our secret sauce.

David Salmela understood that. We had the good fortune of collaborating with David and his talented team to pull off what turned out to be a really complex project. A great architect doesn’t just deliver stellar designs. A great architect solves problems. Code issues. Budget limitations. Contractor surprises. You name it. A project such as this is full of barriers, and the best architects listen to their clients and can achieve their vision while creatively solving problems along the way. While David has largely built his legendary career designing residences, he was undaunted by the challenge of creating a forward-looking workspace for a growing creative agency on a small footprint and even tinier budget.

I’m thrilled that the AIA judges recognized the brilliance of what David and his whip smart colleague, Malini Srivastava, pulled off. It’s not just beautiful. It’s highly functional and uniquely Fast Horse. This is who we are, and the genius of Salmela and his team is that they immediately grasped what we’re about and where we want to go as an agency.

I’d be remiss if I did not offer a shout-out the the contractor who executed Salmela’s design. The good folks at Watson-Forsberg were ace problem solvers and ran a tight ship. In unguarded moments, they’ll admit this was the toughest job they’ve ever done. We’re delighted that they agreed to take it on despite the obvious and not-so-obvious challenges. Big props to Loren, Bjorn and Brian, who bulldogged this thing and delivered it on-time and on budget. Never happens. They pulled it off.

Also, big thanks to our friends at Sunrise Banks. Their support and partnership made this possible. Many banks would have passed on this project because it’s so unconventional. But like Salmela and Watson-Forsberg, they saw the potential and helped clear the hurdles to making it a reality. And finally, a huge thanks to our friends and clients at Marvin Windows and Doors. Hard to overstate how critical they were in helping us get this done, and we are incredibly proud to feature their beautiful windows and doors throughout our building.

We got a Dream Team. And tonight, dressed in our finest, Tony and I will have the opportunity to bask a bit in what they helped us pull off.

Below is a little gallery of photos shot by the best architectural photographer around, Paul Crosby. Stop by sometime. We’d love to give you a proper tour.

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