Upside-Down Bungalows Discovered on Hiawatha Avenue

Small Home Gazette, Spring 2010

Upside-Down Bungalows Discovered on Hiawatha Avenue

I’ve been taking the Hiawatha Line Light Rail to work a couple of times a week for the past six years, starting from the 38th Street Station a few blocks from my bungalow. Until recently, however, I hadn’t noticed the miniature neighborhood of bronze bungalows on the underside of the shelter’s roof.

During the light rail’s construction I heard that artwork was planned for each station. But once the line was completed, I assumed the “art” was merely the shelter’s angled roof, which was touted as a “bungalow arch.” I was not impressed. But I should have looked more closely, especially upward.

As you can see from these photos, the upside-down art installation consists of nine bronze bungalows arranged along either side of a residential street. There are tiny sidewalks out front and alleys out back, complete with detached garages. The sculpture also includes an extension of the “street” that winds into an exuberant, spiraled ribbon dotted with small cars.

On the Metropolitan Council’s website, I learned that the 38th Street Station was designed by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, architects; that Karen Wirth was the architectural design team artist; and that Dick Elliot, Cliff Garten, Deborah Mersky and Janet Zweig were the artists. My compliments to them all.

Next time you take light rail, I suggest you leave enough time to stop off at the 38th Street Station to admire their handiwork.