Founded in 1992, Minnesota Animation Arts is an internationally recognized organization for animators and videographers. The new MN Animation Arts Center will provide local artists for the first time, a new space to develop and share their work. In 2012, a land donation gave the center an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art center for the animation arts. The MNAAC will be located in a former North Minneapolis munitions warehouse that originally housed shells and pyrotechnics for the U.S. Government. The space remained uninhabited for 40 years prior to the redevelopment.
The new center welcomes visitors with a stunning minimalist glass box activated by animations projected onto an innovative glass facade. Once inside, a visitor services and guest lobby will provide guests with a formal beginning to their experience. The facility plays host to indoor and outdoor artist events, premieres and community engagements. It will include a green roof with an outdoor screening space as well as a 200-seat theater complex with a state-of-the-art screening system for both local showings and large cinema events. Additional space is provided for administrative offices, equipment rental, light concessions, restrooms for the various park spaces.
The architecture creates dramatic spaces by contrasting historic brick and steel with clean white surfaces animated by view and projection. New sky lenses open the building up to the sky and key landmarks around the industrial area. Glossy surfaces highlight patina on steel. Colorful animation dances across new walls terminating into old brick. The overall experience is one excitement and creativity.
Education is at the heart of the mission of the MNAAC. The new home provides four classroom spaces, private editing rooms and gathering spaces so aspiring animators can work with regional artists to learn how animation is created. Additional lab space provides technology for computer generated work. The building’s adaptive reuse design creates a contrast between the industrial rustic and contemporary modern minimalism providing a refreshed identity for the building. The architecture is intended to capture the artistry of animated film while highlighting the culture and lives of its members and guests