The Kaufman / Lacey House, 20 Park Lane, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The V.M.S Kaufman / Lacey House

The Kaufman House at Cedar Lake
Street side of the building/ the front entrance
Address: 20 Park Lane
Neighborhood/s: Cedar Lake, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1936
Primary Style: International
Secondary Style: Modern
Additions: 1987, MS&R renovated and added terrace;

1991, Second MS&R addition for third floor approved (un-built); 1992, Screen porch added; 2011, Peterssen/Keller designed and add the third floor, Coen+Partners designed the new landscaping.

Historic Function: Civic
Current Function: Civic
Architect or source of design: 1935,James Brunet; 1989, MS&R; 2011 Petersson/Keller Architects,Coen+Partners
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Stucco
Material of Foundation: Steel
First Owner: V.Mel Kaufman

Cedar Lake Minneapolis Hennepin County

It is the first International Style Building in Minneapolis, which is on the shore of sparkling Cedar Lake. This huge box of light is speaking with the Cedar Lake. The ribbon of the windows stretches across the room, bringing the lake view inside. The wedding-cake design facade is facing the lake, contributing the landscape of the lake area.

The building was first designed and built in 1936 by James Brunet. In 1987, it has been designed as a landmark by Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. MS&R expanded the house in 1989, followed by Preterssen/Keller Architects’ renovation in 2010. Both the first and the later designers kept the International Style expression. The later architects creatively added new elements to meet the needs of the owners, respecting the former results of the building. The owners also provided ideas of the original and later design.



Having visited the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, V.Mel Kaufman and his wife were enthusiastic about the International Style building. When they first heard of a site directly on the shores of sparkling Cedar Lake in Minneapolis, they decided to build a home there using the newest style. They wanted to select a young architect who was also passionate for the new look of “Less is More.” James Brunet, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Architecture School, was delighted, for he was seeking site for the International Style - “one of the first to break away from the popular Colonial and Spanish mode” as he concerned.

The conception of International style emerged in many countries of Europe before the War. In the 1920s and 1930s, the new style advanced most rapidly in America. Le Corbusier was the man who crystallized and first made the world aware the new style. The common characteristics of the International style architecture are said to be:cylindrical forms; multiple roof levels provide outdoor balcony in each layers; cantilevered sections of house, roof, and/or balcony without visible support from main body of house; plain round supports for porches; large sections of blank, windowless wall; large open windows which open from the floor to the ceiling; ribbon windows which are regular height; front door is not accentuated, but obscured deliberately.

The Kaufmans, who had no children, wanted two stories with no basement or attached garage. They preferred a flat roof and the latest materials and technology. This International Style building turned out to be a wedding-cake shape, with a living room, dining room, kitchen, and maid’s room on the main floor, and three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor. The facade was white stucco. A ribbon-like stretch of windows, which were new crank-out casements, reached across both levels. A small terrace at the south end opened a view of the Cedar Lake.

After 1979, 3 other owners lived in the building. In 1987, it had been designated a landmark by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. In 1989, at the owner’s request, the city approved major changes to the home. The project was designed by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd.(MS&R), who added a family room over the garage, expanded bathrooms and remodeled terraces. In the early 1990s, MS&R designed a third-floor addition which had never been built.

The current owner of the building, the Laceys, settled in there in 2001. In 2003, with the birth of their first and second daughters, their lifestyle changed dramatically and they were getting quite squeezed for space.” By 2010, the owner called on Lars Peterssen of Peterssen/Keller Architects to undertake a major renovation. Then the third floor was added, including a bedroom, bathroom, closet, dressing room, a terrace and a sitting area access to the lake view. The home still presents the same International Style expression as the original home of 1936.

Memories and stories

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64px}px This place is part of
the ARCH5670 Class Project
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Minnesota Modernism Tour

    Karen Melvin, Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lake, (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012). Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, The International Style, (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc.,1995).

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