GRIP Selects Award-Winning Architecture Team to Lead Robotics Park

Nationally Renowned Architects will Incorporate Cutting-Edge Robotic Construction Methods into Project Design

Minneapolis, Minn. – (October 16, 2012) The Global Robotics Innovation Park (GRIP) announced today that it has selected Minneapolis-based Coen + Partners and Michigan-based Monica Ponce de Leon Studio to lead the master planning and architectural design efforts for the GRIP campus.

Drawing from the success of past collaborations and complimentary skill sets, Coen + Partners has united with Monica Ponce de Leon Studio for the site selection and feasibility phase of the Global Robotics Innovation Park development.

“We are very excited to work with such an innovative and creative design team for GRIP,” said GRIP CEO Nena Street. “Shane Coen and Monica Ponce de Leon and their teams are talented architects who will make the Global Robotics Innovation Park a landmark for Minnesota technology and economic development. We are particularly excited about integrating Shane’s expertise in the creation of compelling public space with Monica’s work in the robotic fabrication of new construction materials.”

Monica Ponce de Leon notes, “Our team is thrilled to be part of the Global Robotics visioning process – we cannot imagine a project better aligned with our expertise and architectural interests.  GRIP will allow us to capitalize on our current understanding of robotic technology in the fabrication of buildings.”

Shane Coen adds that, “The very idea of GRIP – a new, vibrant center for robotics innovation, research, and business with a global reach – demands iconic place-making.  Our firm’s expertise in context and use-driven planning and design will help GRIP become a world-class magnet for cutting edge Robotics research and development.”

“We are actively continuing our site selection process in the Twin Cities metro area,” said Street, “It is important that we select the right location for the needs of our future tenants and the community. We anticipate having a final site identified in the next few months.”

In addition to its site selection process, GRIP also recently commissioned an economic impact study of the robotics and automation industry in Minnesota. GRIP plans to announce the preliminary findings of that study at the Robotics Alley Conference on November 15 in Edina.

About the Global Robotics Innovation Park:

The Global Robotics Innovation Park (GRIP) will be a research park and business incubator for the robotics industry in the Upper Midwest. It will include a mixed-use real estate development containing light industrial, office and laboratory facilities for research, development, testing and evaluation of robotics, autonomous and intelligent systems, as well as related business incubation, classroom and event space.

Serving as the hub of a regional industry cluster, GRIP will offer tenants access to common technologies, knowledge and resources. Although many companies will co-locate within GRIP, other participants in the Upper Midwest robotics industry will remain and thrive in other urban and rural communities.

About Coen + Partners:

Coen + Partners is an internationally renowned landscape architecture practice based in downtown Minneapolis.  Through a process of collaboration and experimentation, the studio’s work reflects an understanding of site, visual beauty, environmental advocacy, and fiscal responsibility unmatched in the landscape architecture community.   Over the past twenty years, Coen + Partners has been acclaimed with over thirty design awards and recognized by AIA, ASLA, the Committee on Urban Environment and influential publications such as The New York Times, Metropolis, and Dwell.

Shane Coen and his studio have led the design of a number of notable and award-winning civic projects that push the boundary between architecture and landscape and reframe traditional ideas of public space.  These include the Minneapolis Central Library and Xcel Energy Plaza, which border Minneapolis’ historic Nicollet Mall, and the U.S. Land Port of Entry project in Warroad, Minnesota, an iconic LEED-certified project that was honored with a GSA Design of Excellence Award in 2010.  Coen has been selected as a Peer for the U.S. GSA Design of Excellence Program and appointed a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).  He has also taught multiple design studios at Harvard University’s acclaimed Graduate School of Design.

Today, Coen + Partners is engaged in large-scale urban design work for the Hawthorne Eco-Village, a sustainable and affordable infill project in North Minneapolis, a new library and civic campus in Florida, and an innovative master plan for a mixed-use redevelopment near a university in Kansas.

About Monica Ponce de Leon Studio:

Monica Ponce de Leon is the Design Director for MPdL Studio, with offices in New York, Boston and Ann Arbor Michigan, and serves as the Dean of the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Ponce de Leon has been a leader in the use of robotics technology in building fabrication. During her directorship of Harvard’s Digital Lab, her research was the first in the United States to investigate the use of robotics in fabrication for buildings. Advanced fabrication techniques have been deployed in her own projects such as the RISD Library in Providence Rhode Island, Dining Services for the Goldman Sachs Headquarters in New York, and Helios House for BP in Los Angeles.  Applied technologies were first developed in her lab and are the result of the application of Ponce de Leon’s academic research into practice.

Her innovative use of technology has led to numerous awards, including the National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and the Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the AIA Institute Honor Award.


Nena Street


Global Robotics Innovation Park