Crystal Court, the heart of Minneapolis for almost 50 years, gets some TLC

Star Tribune
March 12, 2021
By James Lileks

The Crystal Court in the IDS Center is getting its first upgrade since 1998.

A revamped Crystal Court in the IDS Center will feature new seating and canopies of trees expected to grow 24 feet tall.

It’s rare to find the interior of a 50-year-old building unaltered.

Styles change, tastes change. Classic motifs from the 1920s would have looked aged and stuffy by the 1970s. The thought of a ’70s interior — brown, ferns, exposed wood that gave you a splinter if you brushed up against it — might make you wince now. Ditto the mirrors and geometric shapes so popular in the ’80s.

And then there’s the Crystal Court in the IDS Center. Its design is over a half-century old, and it’s absolutely timeless and impossible to improve. All they can do is rearrange the furniture. Which is sort of what they’re doing.

If you’ve visited Crystal Court recently, you’ll have noticed that the main floor is being overhauled — for the first time since 1998. According to Accesso, the tower’s owner, the benches will be replaced by “modular boulder seating,” and existing trees will be replaced by trees expected to grow much taller than the old ones — 24 feet, if all goes well.

The fountain, installed in the late ‘90s, will be updated.

The fountain, installed in the late ’90s, will be updated, too. Water fell 105 feet, in a sort of perpetual rain, into a basin. Some thought it was a pleasing piece of nature, magically imported into a controlled environment. Others thought it looked like the roof leaked.