Meet Marisa Koivisto

Visiting Chimney Rock State Park near Asheville, NC

Visiting Chimney Rock State Park near Asheville, NC

1. How long have you been part of the PVN team and what drew you to historic preservation?

I started working for PVN before it had a bricks and mortar location, in the fall of 2012, making me one of PVN’s first employees. I have continued to work for PVN while living in Minnesota, South Carolina, and North Carolina. I met Meghan after she lectured in Greg Donofrio’s Introduction to Historic Preservation course in the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. Greg’s course—and subsequent projects within my coursework—funneled me to the preservation field where I found the most satisfaction out of making a case to preserve buildings based on their structural integrity, architectural significance, and heritage value to society—past, present, and future.

2. We all enjoy sharing the latest books we have read in our monthly “What We’re Reading” blog post. Can you share a title or two that stick out as good reads?  

Lately I’ve been reading more cookbooks than books in an effort to build up my southern cooking skills before I move back to Minnesota, the land of the hotdish. I’ve been living in the Carolinas for three years now, and barbecue and comfort food are all the rage on the east coast. Southern Living published a few good cookbooks, and The Southerner’s Cookbook is next on my list to master local favorites like Frogmore Stew, hushpuppies, and shrimp & grits.

3. Most of us in the office have pets--a good mix of cat and dog lovers. Do you have pets of your own?

I don’t currently have any pets, but I do have three children; Bennett is 4, Vince is 2.5, and Vera is our sweet little guardian angel. My boys are active and love the outdoors as much as I do, so we spend lots of time as a family biking, running, and touring the south.

4. What’s your favorite place/space in Minnesota?

Having lived away from my home state for the last few years, I’m awfully nostalgic for a lot of places in Minnesota. I won’t be able to pick just one, but two of my favorites are:

Lake Pulaski at 6am: it’s when the water is like glass for skiing with my dad.

Nicollet Mall on Farmers Market days: it’s the closest the Mall comes to representing the way that Lawrence Halprin designed it to be experienced in 1968.

 5. Tell us a little about your education, credentials, and experience.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota. While pursing my degree, I held several assistantships in the School of Architecture, with projects ranging from conducting heritage preservation research, organizing a Nicollet Mall design charrette, and drawing historic buildings for a publication. I meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Qualification Standards in Architectural History.

6. Something about me that not everyone knows.

Climbing the Cathedral dome in Florence, Italy

Climbing the Cathedral dome in Florence, Italy

I love climbing within the dome structure of historic buildings. The engineering and design of domes have always intrigued me, and there’s something exciting about navigating the narrow spaces between the inner and outer shells of the domes and witnessing the construction and physics close up. My list includes Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Florence Cathedral, and of course the dome at the St. Paul Capitol.

At PVN, Marisa works with our clients on Historic Tax Credit Applications, National Register Nominations and Historical Research in addition to managing the website and social media. Contact Marisa at or 612.843.4140.