Locus Architecture comes home to Southwest

EAST HARRIET — After a decade at the Northrup King Building in Northeast, Locus Architecture is coming home to Southwest.

Locus — a firm that emphasizes the use of local building materials, sustainable technologies and resource efficient techniques — is now headquartered at the corner of 40th & Lyndale (708 West 40th St.).

Founded in 1995, Locus’ first project was the angular, wood-sided home of principal and co-founder Paul Neseth on the 3600 block of Dupont Ave. S. Neseth’s home doubled as Locus’ office until the firm moved to 24th & Hennepin in 1997. After a handful of years at 24th & Hennepin the firm relocated to Northrup King.

On the firm’s blog, Neseth wrote that Locus was “sad to leave” Northrup King, but excited to have a storefront again. In an interview, Neseth added that on a personal level, moving Locus’ headquarters back to Southwest will make life easier because of the shorter commute and closer proximity to his teenage kids.

Neseth and his two partners have established niches in the realm of residential architecture and the design of religious buildings.

For instance, Locus’ design for the Unitarian Universalist church in White Bear Lake won awards from both the Minnesota and national chapters of the American Institute of Architects. The design makes extensive use of Douglas Fir wood grain, incorporates large glass windows and aims to maximize the sound quality of the acoustic musical groups that perform at the church.

Although the dual emphasis on residential and religious design might initially seem strange, Neseth said the combination actually makes quite a bit of sense.

“They seem like two completely different things, but both (home owners and church leaders) are very passionate that their space ends up being unique to who they are and meaningful,” he said.

“It’s very different than retail design, where businesses are looking at a five to 10 year lifecycle on their space. With homes and churches you’re in it for the long haul, because they expect to be there a long time.”

Locus distinguishes itself by the “green features” included in its projects, including active and passive solar and use of reclaimed wood. 

Regarding Locus’ environmental focus, Neseth said “we’ve done a laundry list of stuff on different projects, but we never employ the same procedure because the conditions and clients are unique.”

To celebrate both their move and the Open Streets Minneapolis bike extravaganza, Locus will be hosting an open house at their new home June 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information about the firm, visit locusarchitecture.com.