News Column

Richard Faricy, St. Paul's architectural guardian, dies

September 1, 2014

By Will Ashenmacher, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

Sept. 01--Richard Faricy, a noted St. Paul architect and preservationist whose work shaped the Twin Cities' image, died Aug. 30. He was 86.

Faricy came to prominence with his work on St. Paul'sLandmark Center, which was saved from demolition and refurbished between 1972 and 1978.

"That was really a seminal project. It set off the whole preservation movement in St. Paul," said former Pioneer Press architecture critic Larry Millet, who has written about Twin Cities architecture. "There really was no significant preservation movement in St. Paul or Minneapolis until that time."

The former courthouse and post office at 75 W. 5th Street is renowned for its ornate interior, romantic Richardsonian Romanesque facade and multi-gabled, red-tile roof.

It now serves as an exhibition, gallery and event space and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Along with the St. Paul Hotel, it is considered one of the buildings that defines the city's downtown.

"It was a building that became really close to being demolished, and his work showed what you could do with a historic building -- not only to restore it, but repurpose it," Millet said. "I think Dick always viewed that as one of his primary accomplishments, and rightly so."

Faricy also worked on Bandana Square, the former shopping complex on Energy Park Drive. At the time of its opening in 1984, it was notable for its re-purposing of 19th-century railroad buildings and its mix of financial backers, including government agencies, railroads and private individuals. At its high point, the complex housed several notable tenants, including the Dakota Jazz Club and the Minnesota Children's Museum. Those institutions moved on, though, and eventually Bandana Square struggled to retain occupants. It slid into unprofitability and in 2006 was converted entirely to office space.

Faricy's firm, Winsor-Faricy Architects, designed William Mitchell'sLaw Library at 875 Summit Avenue. The building was contentious -- more than 70 meetings with area residents were held to allay concerns -- but when it finished two months early and "a whisker under budget" in July 1990, it was lauded by the American Association of Law Librarians, according to a Pioneer Press article from the time.

In 1993, Faricy was recognized with a St. Paul Heritage Preservation award for his leadership retaining St. Paul's architectural past. That same year, Winsor-Faricy Architects was commended for its renovation of the Lake Como Park Pavilion.

In Minneapolis, Faricy worked on International Market Square, Laurel Curve Apartments and Symphony Place Apartments.

Faricy also served with Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and the Minnesota State Arts Board

Funeral arrangements for Faricy are pending.


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Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN)

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