The Rapson Cube
by Jane King Hession, Rip Rapson, and Bruce N.Wright
For Ralph Rapson, the 1970s was a busy decade, full of projects that varied in size, scale, program, locale, and complexity — in addition to his position as head of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.
Client complexity varied as well. Rapson had only himself and Mary to please when he designed the Glass Cube, their vacation home, in 1974. On the other hand, when he designed Cedar-Riverside, the country's first New Town–In Town, a complicated and shifting array of developers, investors, local businesses, community activists, neighborhood groups, regulatory agencies, university students, and internationally known urban planning visionaries comprised the client-and-consultant team.
The Glass Cube
Soon after the Rapsons moved to Minneapolis in 1954, they bought an 1897 Greek Revival-style house in the Prospect Park neighborhood, within walking distance of the university. When it came time to design and build a vacation home, however, Rapson wanted something else. "I always thought a country house should be different from a city house," he said. In the country, the modernist would prevail.
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This article is excerpted from Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design by Jane King Hession, Rip Rapson, and Bruce N.Wright, with permission of the publisher, Afton Historical Society Press.
The Glass Cube in Amery, Wisconsin was designed by Ralph Rapson as a vacation house for his own family.
Photo: Tony Soluri / Architectural Digest
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The Rapsons' Greek Revival-style house in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo: Warren Reynolds
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