Artist of the Year: Joan Soranno for Design of Lakewood Mausoleum

Contibuting Editor

12.30.12

"It's all about beauty," said architect Joan Soranno. "Whether it's the placement of a joint in a wall or the design of a whole building, to me it's all about beauty."

At a time when fast, cheap, no-frills buildings litter the landscape and beauty is discounted even by architects, Soranno's values set her apart. And they have won her acclaim, including the Star Tribune's 2012 Artist of the Year award for her design of the Garden Mausoleum at Minneapolis' landmark Lakewood Cemetery.

The $30 million mausoleum, which opened in May near Lake Calhoun, already has garnered a dozen awards and citations for its elegant design, extraordinary light, artful shape and integration into the landscape.

"It's one of the major works of architecture of any type built in the nation this year," said Tom Fisher, dean of the University of Minnesota's College of Design. For a new building in Minnesota to get so much national attention is unusual, but for a mausoleum it is unprecedented, he said. "I can't remember a time when a building of this type has received this many awards."

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