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Willard Thorsen collection

Identifier: N219

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains floor and foundation plans, roof and floor framing and foundation details for Apache Plaza shopping center, the second enclosed mall constructed in Minnesota. Apache Plaza was known for its modern construction, including a roof marked by ten inverted hyperbolic paraboloids and thin columns that resembled upside-down umbrellas in the central court.


  • 1960-1962


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division reading room. Advance notice is requested.

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of materials in this collection. Copies can be requested if the condition of the originals warrants it.

Biographical Note

Willard Lien Thorsen was born on March 10, 1924 in Mason City, Iowa. He attended the University of Chicago and the University of Minnesota, earning his bachelor's degree in architecture in 1949. He began his career as a draftsman for Thorshov and Cerny in Minneapolis. In 1957, he founded Thorsen Associates; the firm changed its name to Thorsen & Thorshove, Inc. in 1961. Thorsen was an imaginative and innovative architect of shopping malls in Minnesota. He designed Apache Plaza (St. Anthony Village), Northtown (Blaine), Apache Mall (Rochester), Har-Mar Mall (Roseville), Brainerd Mall (Brainerd) and St. Croix Mall (Oak Park Heights). Willard Thorsen died in 1998.


1.0 Cubic Feet


Collection contains only the plans for the Apache Plaza shopping center, the second enclosed shopping mall constructed in Minnesota.

Physical Location

High Bay

Additional Finding Aid

An unpublished finding aid with detailed contents is available in the Manuscripts Division.

Willard Thorsen collection
Karen Spilman
April 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area