Monthly Archives: February 2005

Historic Grain Elevators to gain Re-use as Sound Theaters


A cluster of grain elevators owned by Pillsbury will no longer face demolition as consequence of that corporation’s property makeover. The Pillsbury elevators, located along the east bank of the Mississippi River near Saint Anthony Falls, are under study by Design for Preservation, a southeast Minneapolis design firm, who plans to convert the empty cylindrical structures into a music theater multiplex, each shaft to play avante garde musician John Cage’s noted work 4 minutes 33 Seconds on continuous loop tapes.

“An empty round concrete elevator shaft interior represents the ultimate in minimalist architecture,” stated Robert Roscoe, chief entrepreneurial officer (CEO) of Design for Preservation. “And the minimalist aspect of John Cage’s 4 minutes 33 Seconds is the perfect and most appropriate musical oeuvre for these spaces.”

The multiple series of elevator shafts allows the potential of multiple simultaneous performances, and the tape loop for Cage’s music piece, along with the multiplex aspect, will permit many listeners to hear the music over and over, as long as they want, and, except for rush times, no waiting in line.

Roscoe expects neighborhood approval for any permits required for the elevators’ new use, as site noise shouldn’t be the problem that other music venues located near large population areas can create.