AEI Award-Winning Brewery Turns Waste Site Into ‘Destination’

May 25, 2016
Surly Destination Brewery repurposed a former industrial waste site.
Surly Destination Brewery repurposed a former industrial waste site.

The attention on Minneapolis’ Surly Destination Brewery pours in from all over.

From the engineering community. From the craft beer enthusiasts. From … the dentist?

“When you tell people around town that you worked on Surly, your dentist knows what it is,” laughed Johanna Harris, project manager for HGA Architects and Engineers in Minneapolis. “The person at the grocery store knows what it is. Your kids actually think you’re cool for five minutes.”

Such is the success of the brewery, which recently received a Best Overall Project honor in the 2016 ASCE Architectural Engineering Institute Professional Project Awards.

“It’s been immensely satisfying both personally and professionally,” Harris said.

Surly craft beer has been a Twin Cities favorite for years. Surly founder Omar Ansari had broader ambitions, though, and began looking to develop a beer hall–tap room–brewery combination.

He found a prime location, too – right between Minneapolis and St. Paul, near the University of Minnesota, along bike paths and a new light rail line.

Only problem?

It was a contaminated site.

“When I first started working with him, I could not for the life of me understand why he would buy this site,” Harris said. “But Omar had this vision.”

Surly Destination Brewery has immediately become a popular spot in Minneapolis.

Surly Destination Brewery has immediately become a popular spot in Minneapolis.

Harris and her team helped make it a reality.

The architects, structural engineers, and environmental engineers collaborated throughout the process to develop and install a sub-slab vapor barrier membrane and passive vent system to account for the 70-year-old industrial waste seeped into the ground.

The project also followed LEED guidelines, and much of the existing foundations at the site were recycled and incorporated into the design.

Harris described the brewery as a kind of “beer cathedral.” The brewing process is on display, with only a giant glass wall separating the brewery from the beer hall. A sliding door then opens from the beer hall into the beer gardens for a seamless people flow.

The lighting design also required collaboration from the architectural and engineering team as a series of LED lights are concealed in openings in the roof which help create a dramatic, theatrical feel to the space. The lighting also showcases the brewery’s gift shop, art gallery, and event space.

“This is one of these career-defining projects,” Harris said. “It’s so professionally satisfying to be at the hub of a team where every engineer and architectural team member is just working at the top of their game and profession.”

The AEI Professional Project Award competition focuses on the design and construction of high-performance buildings, including structural, mechanical, and electrical systems, as well as construction management and architectural engineering integration.

The projects were reviewed by a committee of 12 jurors, among them distinguished members of the design and construction industry and representatives from AEI’s Board of Governors and Academic Council.

The 2016 project and award recipients are:

Best Overall Projects

• Surly Brewing, Destination Brewery, HGA (less than $100 million)

• JTI International Headquarters, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (greater than $100 million)

Most Innovative Projects

• China Pavilion Expo Milano 2015, Simpson, Gumpertz and Heger (less than $100 million)

• Kingtown International Center, SOM (greater than $100 million)

Mechanical Systems Design Award of Excellence

• Brock Environmental Center, Smith Group JJR

Mechanical Systems Design Awards of Merit

• Oakland University Engineering Center, Smith Group JJR

• P.S. 62 Net Zero Energy School, SOM

Structural Systems Design Award of Excellence

• Wrightwood Art Gallery, Thornton Tomasetti

Structural Systems Design Awards of Merit

• China Pavilion Expo Milano 2015, SGH

• Kingtown International Center, SOM

• JTI International Headquarters, SOM

Electrical Systems Design Award of Excellence

• P.S. 62 Net Zero Energy School, SOM

Electrical Systems Design Awards of Merit

• Oakland University Engineering Center, Smith Group JJR

• Brock Environmental Center, Smith Group JJR

Lighting Systems Design Award of Excellence

• P.S. 62 Net Zero Energy School, SOM

Lighting Systems Design Award of Merit

• Baxter Arena, University of Nebraska Omaha, HDR

Renovation Award of Excellence

• Wrightwood Art Gallery, Thornton Tomasetti

Architectural Engineering Integration Award of Excellence

• P.S. 62 Net Zero Energy School, SOM

Architectural Engineering Integration Awards of Merit

• Surly Brewing, Destination Brewery, HGA

• China Pavilion Expo Milano 2015, SGH

• Brock Environmental Center, Smith Group JJR

• Wrightwood Art Gallery, Thornton Tomasetti

• JTI International Headquarters, SOM

Construction Management and Methods Award of Excellence

• Daytona Rising at Daytona International Speedway, Barton Malow

Construction Management and Methods Awards of Merit

• Coppin State – Science and Technology Center, Barton Malow

• PPL Center, Alvin H. Butz Inc.

Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *