Saturday, December 7, 2013


Many older malls are still struggling and continue to take on more and more non-typical "mall" tenants.

This Minnesota mall has been migrating from retail to educational uses for about a decade.

Growing programs continue to grow and consume even more adjacent vacant space. This round didn't even require additional toilets or other expensive infrastructure or upgrades; because we can consider it an expansion of the current educational uses. (Save tens of thousands in capital costs)

Own an empty building or mall? Consider seeking non-traditional, non-retail, tenants.

We can help overcome any program, zoning or building code issues, as well as layout spaces in a manner that will benefit the tenant (income) and landlord (expenses) long-term.

Code Plan

Project: Coon Rapids - Transitions Plus Program, by my good friend's firm: Mike Kraft Architects.)

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

British design documents

The design for the British Basement is complete after some priority shifts, input from others and a decision to take over two adjacent nooks and cranny's!

Client needed to create a second kitchen(ette) to help host up to 100 church youth at their home from time to time.

Creating a longer, skinnier galley kitchen which stole about three feet from the existing mechanical room was the trick.

Features dark stained, raised wood panel cabinets, pilasters, wainscot and trim, along with a coffered ceiling and slate floor. This intense zone gives way to a simpler carpet and paint family room on one side and a family photo gallery, curved glass curio, on the other.

Facing the kitchenette is a custom reading alcove surrounded by floor to ceiling shelves for an antique book collection. This alcove was made possible by the re-structuring of one leg of the staircase landing and relocating the door to the under stair storage, now dedicated to AV components and general storage.

The design intentionally incorporates the look and feel of a British Pub based on about 20 different photographs selected by the client.

The layout is extremely functional, seating 10 around the paired peninsulas, with room to stand and walk behind each stool. There are three distinct workstations, and plenty of storage in the cabinets and the adjacent mechanical and storage rooms.


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Friday, November 8, 2013

2D or not 2D, that is the question.

2D or not 2D....that is the question.

I think in 3D, and work out my ideas in 2D plans, sections and elevations, but my clients better understand the concept if a 3D visual is available.

Here are some 2D and 3D studies, which do you find easier to understand?

2D plan for second living quarters addition:

2D Plan of special education tenant improvement:

2D Plan of A British basement library and entertainment kitchenette:

2D Plan and Elevation of an elevated stamped concrete and steel deck designed to entertain youth groups for 50-100:

3D sketches for three roof forms for a hotel addition from more to less expensive....B was selected by the client:

3D study of a fellowship doubling for my Lutheran church friends:

These are all works I created for various clients over this past week!

How can I help you make your dream project come alive?


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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

K-12 a comfortable sweater!

It has been 5 years since I have had a chance to work on a Minnesota public school project. 

It feels great to have this chance to utilize my gifts on a couple of basic school projects. These two projects will help thousands of children, in this case some middle school and special needs kids, for decades!

Warm fuzzy feelings...even doing benign wall sections.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

LSF Design - Week 1

Blog post:

This first week of transitioning to FT has been a lot of scrambling, organizing, sorting, consolidating, and endless technology coordination.

With my Dad getting ill and passing away last week, I haven't had much focus either.

Luckily I did find some time to get a little work done:

1) Three room hotel addition including fitness center, coin laundry and storage remodel: 

2) Special education tenant improvement for a friends' firm...missed the school work:

Tomorrow thru Next week:  back to my basement remodel design, master suite addition, distillery concept, and RLC renderings. 

Teaming with two other firms, I have plenty of room for more work soon....bring it on!

- Posted by Larry Fredlund using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MAC: Make Then Detached

And they were detached.

Working with limited description of the problem to be solved makes the solution take a bit longer to get to.

I had detached Hanger 1 for the office and Hanger 2, but now I learned all three must be detached.

OK....I will label them as such!

He he!

- Posted by Larry Fredlund using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let there be light.

St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Bloomington. MN is getting three new entrances, a connecting commons, updated toilets, and a new youth room and meeting/nursery room.

What was a dark, bunker like building is being split open so light can stream deeper into the public spaces, while actually maintaining the subdued light into the sanctuary.

A lot of complicated details to get the "simple" design to appear the natural and obvious solution.

God gives us such beautiful natural light...we are just letting it in.

- Posted by Larry Fredlund using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Demo and Construction Two Churches

Months of planning and design completed, demo and construction underway.

Trinity Lutheran of Watertown, MN and St. Bonaventure Catholic Church of Bloomington, MN are both adding space but not one single new seat in the worship space!

What is limiting growth at your church?

Here are the improvements at one or both of these churches I designed here at Vanman Architects and Builders:

**New visible and accessible entrances.
**Vastly improved internal circulation.
**A central fellowship space.
**A place for youth.
**Secure check-in and lockable wing for pre-school.
**Lots of light and views added.
**Elevator connecting three levels.
**Dedicated meeting room for many shared functions.
**Support spaces for weddings and funerals.

St. Bonaventure - beam pockets for youth room roof.

St. Bonaventure - foundation and beam pockets for sloped roof over meeting room.

St. Bonaventure - cutting one of the two 12' wide openings connecting the new commons areas.

St. Bonaventure - chopping up the two old toilet rooms for one new large women's toilet room.

Trinity Lutheran - clearing trees for the new weekday entrance, offices, meeting room, toilets, cafe, and large commons. All the stained glass and brick walls will become a feature of this welcoming space.

Trinity Lutheran - removing a portion of the middle level slab on grade to drop the floor 30" to connect the current fellowship to the new elevator and other two levels.

Trinity Lutheran - Unexpected discoveries abound. The last addition ripped out a former landing and stair, leaving this block wall "hanging" off a make-shift bracket. (Magic Structure?)

- Posted by Larry Fredlund using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 23, 2013

Abbott Northwestern Heart Hospital

Buildings are favorites are the ones with good bones, tight skin, and a good set of lungs.

This six story beauty has served thousand of people as part of a strong medical complex.

Find the parts....

Heat and Ventilation
View & Privacy
Re-use & Re-purpose

Our buildings can influence how we feel in times of stress and crisis. Protect us, give us perspective, and remember we are just all a part of history in the making.


- Posted by Larry Fredlund using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Chicago Ave,Minneapolis,United States

Friday, July 26, 2013

Construction Friday, St. Bonaventure Catholic Church

Construction Friday!

Vanman Architects and Builders laying the foundations for St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Bloomington, MN.

Architect Led Design Build is NOT typical Design/Build!

Architects, call me to better serve YOUR clients. Let's partner up so you can become more profitable and retain your high status during construction!

Build with a partner that has your back.

- Posted by Larry Fredlund, Project Manager, Business Development: Vanman Architects & Builders

....using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, July 13, 2013

One low cost change.....

My cousin is looking at three homes in San Diego, I am jealous of all three and the location.

One home has potential but someone has spent a couple decades installing all the wrong stuff (spec home things).

Here is a before and after image I did in a few minutes with free apps.

The first thing your eye is drawn to sets the tone for the room, home and it's owner.

Cheap white six panel doors are NOT the right look for this home. Add some nice black or oil rubbed bronze hardware and the entire home will have a more casual, relaxed, upscale and enjoyable every time you open and close the doors.

Good luck Joe, you Catholic Cancer Crusader!!!

Don't give me no crap about perspective....didn't do in photoshop, but on my iPhone with ArtStudio app.

- Posted by Larry Fredlund using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Durant St NE,Isanti,United States

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cross Lake Home - Pine City

Plenty of revisions and refinements to the detailing on this home.
Pre-Final Exterior Elevations Below

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cross Lake Addition

Getting close to the final look.... Integrating an overlook deck between the gables, then a little fine tuning and ready to go..

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

I miss the freedom of Art

Time Space and Focus:






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Location:Durant St NE,Isanti,United States

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cross Lake Addition, Pine City

A taller, wrap around addition creates a new MN wood and stone look and feel to this existing 900sf lake home.

Saving and remodeling the entire existing home and garage slab reduces new square footage dramatically.

First sketches of the exterior:

Front yard/street frontage

Side yard/entry stair and loft tower.

View from the Lake

Side yard (existing on left)

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Natures Dry Cleaning

Wrapping up the construction drawings for the remodel of a MN Hardees into an environmentally friendly dry cleaners. They use a process that does not use the flammable and harmful chemicals most dry cleaner machines rely on. Even the soon to be adopted building code recognizes this system as safer not only for the environment but for the workers and occupants in the dry cleaning facility. We can omit the fire sprinkler system and thus save about $60,000 in remodel costs!

I am attaching just a few design drawings here. Not a lot of budget for design, so focusing on site and building signage concepts, creating nice drop-off and drive-up entries and lobby.

Curious how quickly these family owned businesses will improve their bottom lines in a larger, single, owner occupied building, designed around their business concepts.

Good luck Mark and Penny!




Landscaping is intended to become the memorable feature of this project.

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