The Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota  

Amanda Ortland for Ateliers Jean Nouvel


The Guthrie Theatre, built by Jean Nouvel in 2006, is a renowned regional performing arts center in Minneapolis with three theatre venues and a full range of in-house production, administration and education facilities. From the beginning, one of Mr. Nouvel’s design ambitions for this project was to find a way of building the pictorial history of the Guthrie into its facades and lobby walls. I selected images from hundreds of archival photographs and translated them into one seamless, large-scale image composition.  

Overall there are over 10,000 printed sheets of airmail paper in the public spaces, 50 small backlit actors’ portraits, 10 billboard size writers portraits and about 300 monochrome blue-on-blue screen printed metal facade panels. The building opened in 2006 with very favorable press reviews and has since become a regional icon. When Jean Nouvel won the Pritzker Prize in 2008, the jury citation noted that “...the iconic Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota both merges and contrasts with its surroundings. It is responsive to the city and the nearby Mississippi River, and yet, it is also an expression of theatricality and the magical world of performance.”