Stories Under Glass: A walking tour of Presidential proportions and Hollywood moments.

Minneapolis, MN, United States
Est. --- / 10 mins / Map

Stories Under Glass: A walking tour of Presidential proportions and Hollywood moments. - Cya On The Road

When it was built in 1972, the 57-story IDS Center towered over it nearest competition: the Foshay Tower, a mere 32 stories tall. Investors Diversified Services (IDS) was incorporated in 1894, and by 1972 it was the largest financial institution of its kind in the world.For their new headquarters they hired East Coast architect Philip Johnson, who was on his own rise to fame designing contemporary high-rise office buildings.Johnson was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1906. As a child he traveled regularly with his mother to Europe to study art and architecture. His extensive travels paired with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and the classics landed him a job at New York’s Museum of Modern Art as a curator of architecture and design.One of his early projects was to plan an exhibit documenting the new architecture going up in Europe in the 1920s. Johnson is credited as coining the term “International School” for that exhibit.While he maintained ties to MOMA, Johnson returned to Harvard for a degree in architecture and designed his first building at age 36. By 1979 Johnson was a world-renowned architect and received the first Pritzker Architecture Prize — architecture’s equivalent of the Pulitzer.IDS Center was an early landmark for Johnson, but his controversial AT&T Tower (1984) in New York City with its Chippendale top is credited as beginning the post-modern era of architecture.IDS Center was the first downtown property to have skyway connections on all four sides. On the second level, pedestrians converged on balconies overlooking downtown’s epicenter, the Crystal Court. One entire city block contained the 18-story Marquette hotel, the Crystal Court and a faceted octagonal 57-story tower.Tenants moved into the property in 1972. Within the next couple of years the Orion Room restaurant and lounge opened on the tower’s 50th floor, and a 360-degree observation deck filled the 51st floor. The property was launched into national celebrity when opening credits for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” were shot in the Crystal Court and on Nicollet Mall.The ethereal, light-filled space became a favorite spot for celebrities and politicians. Prince filmed scenes for “Purple Rain” here in 1983. Emilio Estevez visited a few years later while filming “The Mighty Ducks.” President Bill Clinton rallied support for his healthcare plan on a stage in 1994; then the 2008 Republican National Convention used the Crystal Court for its media hub. In 2010, Charlize Theron filmed scenes from “Young Adult.”Though the observation deck and Orion Room areas now exist as incredible private event space and is managed by the Marquette Hotel, the Crystal Court maintains its prominence as downtown’s busy circulation hub and IDS Center reigns over the skyline as an architectural jewel.Please enjoy your time in the Crystal Court and surrounding skyways today. We’ve chosen to highlight a couple of the aforementioned happenings and a few more in “Stories Under Glass:  A walking tour of Presidential proportions and Hollywood moments.”

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