Architect Lisl Close Led Mid-Century Design
Just last week, I noticed an obituary of Elizabeth S. “Lisl” Close in the Twin Cities Star and Tribune. That name was so familiar, I thought to myself. Sure enough, I drive by a small building in the Seward neighborhood that houses the Close Architectural firm almost every day.
Lisl and her husband, Win Close, formed Close Architects in 1938. She and her husband are responsible for 14 historic residential homes in the area as well as several commercial buildings. A few of the most notable are the Gray Freshwater Biological Institute in Navarre; the Peavey Technical Center in Chaska and the University of Minnesota’s Ferguson Hall.
What struck me, as a designer, is how modern the spaces were for buildings in that era. Large windows and open floor plans with a lot of natural materials for clean, almost stark spaces.
The spaces feel as if they were designed today, and indeed the Close team was well ahead of their time. These homes were, and are, some of the outstanding examples of mid-century design.
In 1988, Win and Lisl Close sold their practice to Gar Hargens who continues designing and building structures today. One of the recent projects that Close Architects designed is the new Seward Coop building on Franklin Ave. The big bright green building is a modern farmer’s market with lots of windows.