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McNamara Alumni Center
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The McNamara Alumni Center, also known as the Gateway Building, at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota is one of the more architecturally-unique buildings in the area. Located at the intersection of University Avenue and Oak Street, it resides on a piece of land formerly home to Memorial Stadium. In fact, the interior of the building features an arch that was once an entrance to the stadium. The building opened in February 2000 and is named for Richard McNamara, a 1956 alumnus of the University.
Architect Antoine Predock designed the structure along with KKE Architects. The building has two main pieces, a relatively normal rectangular portion that contains offices, and a large reception area with a shape meant to resemble that of a geode. The office portion is clad in sheets of copper, and the exterior of the geode-shaped portion is clad in pink granite. Inside, ledges protrude from the office section into the reception area, and the interior of the geode portion is covered in a lightly-stained wood. Outside, there is a small water pool and fountain, although it is not in operation for most of the academic year because of the region's climate.
The building was criticized for many reasons when it was being built. Automobile parking has always been in short supply on campus, and a park area next to the building took away another campus lot (however, a new parking ramp was constructed nearby to help alleviate this problem). Many people considered the building to be unattractive, although that would be expected with any unusual structure. Probably the most enduring criticism, at least among students, is the fact that contributions from alumni went into building the $45 million structure rather than into academic scholarships.
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