East Lake Street’s newest addition is 292 Design Group, an architectural firm with a portfolio that spans educational spaces, civic projects, commercial buildings, and ice facilities. We caught up with Mark Wentzell, 292 Design Group partner, to learn more about 292 and the kind of work the group does.
MB: Looking through the 292 Design Group portfolio, the firm does a wide range of architectural work. Is there a type or style of work that the group particularly enjoys working on?
Wentzell: Although we do a great variety of things, 292 has always focused on civic projects. We enjoy working on projects that have an important place in the community – such things as community centers, recreation facilities, libraries, art centers, and schools.
MB: Are there one or two projects that the 292 Design Group has done that you’re particularly proud of?
Wentzell: We did the Burnsville Performing Arts Center about 4 years ago. We are very pleased by the comments we have received from theater critics and theater goers. Located on Nicollet Avenue, the Burnsville PAC is the cornerstone of new downtown in the city.
Another project is Roosevelt School in St. Paul. Set to open this fall, this project preserves a historic school and makes it function for today’s educational programs.
MB: Why did you choose East Lake Street for your new location?
Wentzell: We had been thinking for some time that we would like to have a storefront office somewhere in the city. One day I had a meeting with a prospective client in the neighborhood and happened to see the building for sale. The client didn’t hire us but we found a new place for our office. We think this is the ideal place for us. We think this is really a neat part of the city and really enjoy all the activity on Lake Street.
MB: You have been working as an architect for 30 years, how has the field changed in that time?
Wentzell: Many things are the same. Clients have needs that we try to help them with. Construction hasn’t changed much but design and drawing technology is completely different. We, of course, produce everything digitally, rather than by hand.
MB: What do you find most interesting about your work?
Wentzell: I find two parts of my profession rewarding. Working closely with clients to understand what they do and what they need to do their job well. Then discovering ways to make exciting and humane spaces for them inhabit.
MB: Where do you see 292 Design Group going in the future?
Wentzell: 292 will continue to serve a whole variety of clients all over the country, but we want to become more active in our own community. We would like to be actively involved in the life of our new neighborhood.
292 Design Group is located at 3533 E. Lake Street in Minneapolis. If you are walking by be sure to take a peek through the windows, the space has been completely renovated and updated.