Believed to be the oldest building in Excelsior Minnesota, this humble brick structure has transformed, been moved, and housed countless people over its 162 years. Affectionately known as ‘The Beehive’, it was built in 1857 and began as the original Excelsior schoolhouse. It was moved to its’ current location in the 1880’s and became a 23-room dormitory for Northwestern Christian College, followed by a boarding house, and finally apartments (in addition to the rumors of more sordid activities in the early 20th century!).
After being in the same family for several decades, the owner wanted to transform the building one more time to make it her own home. Citydeskstudio worked closely with her and the Excelsior Historic Preservation Commission on the design. She now occupies the main floor, with additional units above and below for rental and for family.
The design celebrates the stout and blocky character of the building with a new modern expansion off the back. There, the building steps and expands outwards in glassy boxes of charred cedar. Inside, the original structure was repaired and uncovered where possible, and previous poorly done modifications were corrected. The center piece of this more open and light-filled home is a rich modern kitchen in walnut, travertine, and steel. The old character remains ever present and is essential to the spirit of The Beehive’s latest transformation.
This multigenerational home’s design honors the legacy of the property, marrying the original Excelsior schoolhouse with a beautiful, modern, contextually-sensitive remodel and addition.
Ben Awes, AIA, Principal-In-Charge