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  • May 29, 2013

ASI Becomes First Museum In Minnesota To Earn LEED Gold Certification

The American Swedish Institute (ASI) today announced its Nelson Cultural Center has been awarded LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The 34,000 square foot, two story addition opened in June 2012.  ASI is the first museum in Minnesota to achieve this distinction.

HGA Architects and Engineers designed the Nelson Cultural Center expansion. Inspired by the distinct beauty of the historic1908 Turnblad mansion, the Nelson Cultural Center consists of traditional Swedish aesthetics while prioritizing the use of sustainable technologies. Architectural elements emphasize natural wood, glass, stone and textiles; an open and welcoming layout; and handcrafted detailing. The Cultural Center includes facilities for contemporary exhibitions, administrative offices, collections care, and expanded programming.

“When we set out to expand the American Swedish Institute campus, it was extremely important to us that the new addition be a leading steward of sustainability, in line with the Swedish commitment to utilizing sustainable technology. The LEED Gold Certification signifies that we achieved this goal while creating a beautiful space that will be enjoyed by our community and international visitors for generations to come,” stated Bruce Karstadt, ASI’s President and CEO.

HGA’s Tim Carl, leader of the Nelson Cultural Center expansion project added: “The beauty of ASI lies in the strength of the community they have built and cared for throughout their history.  Their recent expansion - and its recognition for LEED Gold Certification-  is a testament to their commitment to sustaining the quality of their communities.

“LEED certification identifies the American Swedish Institute Expansion Project as a pioneering example of sustainable design and demonstrates ASI’s leadership in transforming the building industry,” said S. Richard Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council.

ASI’s Nelson Cultural Center received the honor for its many sustainable design elements that are not only environmentally friendly but strong financial investments as well. Features include:

Geothermal heat pump energy system—The ASI expansion is the largest geothermal project in the city of Minneapolis to date. 96 wells spread underground the ASI campus which will contribute a 27% reduction of the total annual energy consumption of the building and is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 278 metric tons of CO2 per year.

Green Roof- The grass roofs on Hopper Terrace and the Nelson Cultural Center will reduce energy consumption in winter conditions, reduce storm water run-off and filter pollutants out of rainwater, insulates the building for sound.

Future visitors will be able to learn more about the sustainability features of the Nelson Cultural Center through a free self-guided “What’s Old is New” cell phone tour.

In honor of its new “green” status and Minnesota Museum Month, ASI hosted a free evening at the museum including a small ceremony, guided tours of the green features and a craft activity for children.


About the American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute (ASI) is a vibrant arts and culture organization and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis. ASI attracts more than 65,000 people each year for tours of the landmark 1908 Turnblad Mansion, exhibits, classes and events that connect the community to contemporary Nordic culture and cultural heritage. Founded in 1929 by Swedish immigrant newspaper publisher Swan J. Turnblad, ASI now serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden. Museum hours: Tue., Thu., Fri., Sun. 12–5 p.m., Wed. 12–8 p.m., and Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Museum admission: $7, $6 ages 62+, $4 ages 6-18 and students with ID. For more information, visit

About HGA

HGA is an integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm that helps prepare its clients for the future. By understanding their cultural and business needs, we help clients realize their organization's vision and potential through responsive, innovative and sustainable design. We achieve this through multidisciplinary collaboration, knowledge sharing and design investigation.

Our founding principals--Richard Hammel, Curt Green and Bruce Abrahamson--established precedence for collaboration, aesthetic achievement and client service since our founding in 1953. These criteria still inspire HGA today as architects, engineers, interior designers and allied professionals work alongside each other from a building's inception through move-in to develop solutions uniquely suited to each client.

Throughout our history, we have pursued new design directions to deliver the greatest value to our clients.

About LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings. More than 40,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising more than 7.9 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 117 countries. In addition, more than 10,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with nearly 45,000 more homes registered.

By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. For more information, visit


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