When you look at the renderings for the upcoming V3 Center, you instantly notice the glass, separated by angled exterior walls. LSE Architects designed the building to be a gateway into North Minneapolis, with a nod to both the skyscrapers nearby downtown and the community-feel of the North neighborhood V3 calls home. But what isn’t readily apparent is how much thought goes into making sure the Center is sustainable and earth-friendly.
“We’re all living in this world and we only get one of them and we want to make sure we’re protecting it as much as possible at this point,” Keon Blasingame, LSE’s lead designer on the project explained. “Owners like V3 see this as an asset, as opposed to a liability. Reducing energy consumption, reducing embodied energy, and all those sorts of things as a strategy that adds value.”
Blasingame was tasked with making sure the V3 Center was both sustainable and responsible to the organization’s commitment to the surrounding environment.
“Environmental justice, and you know, waste reduction; these things that are pushing us to work smarter, not harder. That’s a really cool opportunity that hasn’t always been an opportunity,” V3 Board Chair Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos said.
When she’s not driving the mission and fundraising for V3 and the future V3 Center, Schlaeger dos Santos is an Environmental Youth Program Director, running a program called Youth N’ Power, which trains young adults to become community organizers that operate through the lens of environmental justice. Her work hits close to home, in more ways than one.
“This is the community I grew up in, this is the community that I serve, I spend most of my time. So, it just feels like the logical next step for us to be building something that not only helps people to feel better and feel safer and move their bodies, but to learn in a way that creates a healthy and safe environment as a whole,” she adds.
Inside the glass, and beneath the bricks, you’ll find that everything within the future V3 Center will be built to last and constructed to save energy. Reducing energy utilization is a priority in every aspect of LSE Architects’ plan.
“We’re all living in this world and we only get one of them and we want to make sure we’re protecting it as much as possible at this point.”
— Keon Blasingame, LSE Architects
LSE also made the 6-hour trek to Omaha, Nebraska in the Summer of 2021 to take in the US Olympic Swim Trials. While the athletes shined under the bright spotlights of the swimming world, the pool, purchased by V3, was also on display.
“One of the things that we took away from that is this equipment is so advanced now technologically. Energy utilization that’s involved in that has been so drastically reduced versus our traditional system of recirculation pumps,” the lead designer concludes.
Along with the 50-meter Olympic size pool, V3 purchased a 25-yard training pool for the center, which will also feature multi-purpose courts, a running/biking track, fitness and community gathering space, business entrepreneurial storefronts, drop-in childcare, and educational rooms. We will break ground on phase one in the fall, which would include some of the community space and the 25-yard pool used to begin offering lifesaving swim lessons to the community. Phase two will be added in the future as fundraising efforts continue.
The V3 Center will be a North Minneapolis asset and regional destination, while also being mindful of the well-being of the planet.