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MINNEAPOLIS-Despite a recommendation to save the Guthrie Theater building from the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, a local architecture critic concludes the building has been so tampered with over the years it’s probably not worth saving. Larry Millett, anarchitecture critic with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, says the original Guthrie, as designed and built in 1963 by architect Ralph Rapson, was a “quirky, charming and strikingly original work that created a new kind of theatrical experience,” and one of the most important buildingsof its time.

But the building has been so remodeled, including changing its distinctive exterior, and wouldneed be further remodeled in the future. Millett concludes there’s little left to save. Its tenant, the Guthrie, hopes to move to a new theater complex on the Minneapolis riverfront by 2005. The neighboring Walker Art Center, which owns the Guthrie building, wants to raze it to make way for an ambitious $90-million expansion. The Minneapolis City Council holds the ultimate fate of the building, and Millett anticipates it will approve a permit request from the Walkerto tear it down.

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