Freshwater Society (formerly Gray Freshwater Biological institute)

Originally, the Gray Freshwater Biological Institute was dedicated to basic research on problems relating to freshwater in lakes, rivers and marshes. At the project’s onset, Close Associates helped select a five-acre sloping site within a residential zone on Lake Minnetonka. In order to maintain appropriate character and scale, the building was designed as a group of loosely connected pavilions housing labs for residents and visiting scientists, attendant utilities, offices and seminar rooms. A poured-in-place concrete frame was specified for its resistance to vibration, and the exterior is clad in durable gray-pink brick and rough-sawn cedar. Offices, study alcoves and conference rooms enjoy natural light and a vista of the marsh. Dialogue areas are interspersed between laboratories to facilitate access to study areas and to encourage interchange between scientists. These spaces continue to work well for Cargill Corp., which now leases the entire facility from the Freshwater Society. The project received an Honor Award from the Minnesota Society of Architects.

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