Posts tagged with "Cincinnati":

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The new director of Cincinnati’s School of Architecture and Interior Design talks the future and Ohio

Ed Mitchell began his role as the new director of the University of Cincinnati's School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) one year ago. Notable for its innovative century-old cooperative education platform, the school's rankings have dipped in the past decades out of the country's elite programs. In this interview, Mitchell—whose resume includes an energetic mix of professional practice and academic positions at Columbia, Pratt, Yale, IIT, and more—explains his vision for the school and the move from the east coast to the midwest. The Architect's Newspaper: At the time you took the role of SAID director, you were in charge of the post-professional program at Yale and an Associate Professor there. Ed Mitchell: There were things we were doing in studios at Yale that I thought had the mission of a "school." What I liked about the students at Yale—especially the post-professional students—was that they were international. Their perspective on issues was very different from the standard American East Coast background that Yale typically gets. We were doing studios where the problem was wide open—but it was real. It wasn't a problem of program or constructional limitations. What was important was a real evaluation of the aesthetics and formal control of architecture to other disciplines. There were physical aspects of city-making that compelled me. People would come to both of us with questions like: "We've got 1,600 acres. What should we do? We need an answer in three weeks." That was the problem. As a result, our students would get involved in the actual project—meet with state officials, local politicians, developers, fishermen, industry workers, local immigrant communities—and actually stage the city they wanted to have happen. AN: Why did you apply for the job in Cincinnati? EM: Cincinnati, if you've never come out here, is an exotic place. Everything was new here for me. It was like being in a foreign country. As an architect, this is one of the most beautiful architectural cities I've been too, bar (almost) none. Cincinnati is the westernmost eastern city, the southernmost northern city, and the northernmost southern city in the country. Nothing is resolved here! The city has an incredible history that you feel around you all the time. This is the subculture that makes a place interesting. It's the kind of place that I always gravitated to—I lived in Providence as an undergraduate. I moved to New York and San Francisco in the '80's which were both like that. If you were talented and had energy, then people would find out about you, and they might just invite you to collaborate with them. It wasn't like you had to pay dues to gain access. What's interesting about a city like Cincinnati is that it's relatively easy to get into the community to do work. The cost of the education is relatively low—when high tuition cost prohibits at a point of entry from certain economic classes that isn't right. If you are eliminating talent based on income, you're not doing anything important anymore. This was the right school with the right kind of potential. AN: What are you most excited about in your new position as director of SAID? EM: $2 beers and cheap bowling. An exciting art scene of young people in the city. Adjunct faculty who looked like they might have the kind of energy to take this to the next level. I sensed people wanted somebody to push the energy level up—to keep it up and stay positive about it. A lot of people forgot about the University of Cincinnati. On the east coast, it had a reputation as a great school. The midwestern schools safeguarded and championed the discipline of architecture for several decades. I still think of it that way, but admittedly many students are not familiar with the place and its mission. People are a little intimidated about taking risks, and this might be a risky place to be. It's not New York or L.A. or London. But it's a place where culture arises from.
You have opportunities here that you wouldn't have elsewhere. This week was incredible. The first year graduate studio built a pavilion on the main campus in two and a half weeks that's pretty incredible; we have five books coming out next month after one year. We have a new dean incoming from Hong Kong who is bringing a global perspective to the college. AN: What plans do you have for the school? What's your vision for it? EM: A lot of people don't realize Cincinnati has a 100-year old co-op program where a portion of the curriculum is dedicated to students working in offices around the world. The idea of the cooperative was a radical political agenda in the midwest. It would be an exciting mission for the school to take it dead seriously. Not just as a service to professional offices—there's nothing wrong with that—but what the cooperative project really is. Whether that's questioning our urban futures, or taking a group of new students and in three weeks building a community structure to host events, or organizing the junior faculty in a three-city exhibition. There's an attitude here: an "all hands on deck" approach. Everyone pitches in to get things accomplished. I think this is fantastic—something you don't get in a lot of places. People here are competitive and want to do excellent work, but they're supportive and cooperative towards a larger cultural effort. AN: Explain the issues facing the school. EM: The school's reputation was in the accredited B.Arch program. I think we need to define what a Masters program is. The real question is what do we do different here than other schools? It's a relatively small program in size with a "down home" work ethic about what it does. However, that shouldn't stop it from being creative and original. Ohio is full of great subcultures in the arts and music from its utopian past to the birth of punk in Cleveland and Akron. We need to keep that spirit in architecture. There's too much focus on program and not enough critique of architecture. The good intentions of the students and faculty sometimes backfire: the moral is a way of dodging the physique. Some of our students travel internationally through co-op, but historically we haven't had strong enough partnerships with international academic programs. For example, our students will work in Beijing on a co-op, but they haven't actually done studio work there or looked at larger international problems that they'll probably be involved in within offices. So I'm trying to find a way that we can do research-based work within the school. Not only as a studio imperative but as an extended research project in a developing post-doc program or the existing doctoral programs. These projects can become longer-term sustained revisitation of a series of problems. In this way, international studies become less episodic and more engaged with a broader mission statement. AN: Since you were at Eisenman's office in the mid-'90s during the design of the school addition, what insights can you share about the building? Can you tell us how it operates? EM: The building has a legacy as one of the last buildings during the peak of a critical, theoretical approach in formalism. When I got out of school, I thought this was the only thing architecture would be left to do. It's an important legacy to retain, but not one to continually emulate to the point of exhaustion. It's like a medieval city—you have to learn it's internal routes. There are ways of moving about the building that inspire conspiracies, gang organizations, and new collectives. The main space in the building exists as a great gallery of work. SAID tends to occupy this space as much as it can. You can sit there, eat a sandwich, roll around on the floor, look at your work. People are in discussions there. It's a really active space and didactive for our students and faculty. AN: While SAID is one of four broader schools within DAAP, it contains two disciplines: architecture and interior design. Culturally, these programs feel like two different worlds, each with their own academic agendas and representational toolsets. EM: I'd like for the two disciplines to interplay more. There are things that each does better. Something is fascinating about how, in the 18th century, things like color couldn't be described scientifically. Issues like color and shape that weren't normative or relative to a platonic solid fell out of the discourse of architecture because they couldn't be documented, written, and transcribed. Interiors, as a discipline, didn't really emerge until the 19th century when "identity" became an issue. This led to a wide range of proto-formations of architecture and spatial matrices. Cincinnati is full of that because it emerged as a great city during this time of a shifting cultural spectrum. The result is that it's a place where you can invent stuff—there is great high modernism here, there's incredible Victorian architecture, and the landscape and river have its own unique presence. I think you can tap into that variety of circumstances, ecologies, and histories.  
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Renderings of pillow-clad soccer stadium revealed for Cincinnati

The Ohio soccer club FC Cincinnati has revealed renderings of a new stadium designed by Meis Architects. The design borrows features from some of Europe's best stadia. Meis Architects, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York, has designed the $200 million stadium to seat 26,500 people, with room to expand to 30,000. The new stadium is part of FC Cincinnati's bid to become a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. If successful, the club, which was founded in 2016, will leave the United Soccer League (USL), moving into the new stadium in 2021. Preliminary designs feature a U-shaped bowl which will be illuminated by LED lighting underneath an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) canopy. The canopy can be lit up in the club's iconic orange and blue colors, much like the ETFE lighting scheme at FC Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena designed by Herzog & de Meuron. A site has yet to be confirmed, but a proposed site across the Ohio River in Newport means views of Downtown Cincinnati will be framed by the stadium. A retractable roof canopy meanwhile will act to mitigate noise from the stadium during game time. The main homestand, to be known as "The New Bailey,"  will be a single tier and have a capacity of 8,000, echoing the famous "kop" stand at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium in the U.K. The New Bailey will sit behind one of the goals in the open end of the enclosed horse-shoe shaped stadium. "It will lay against a tight dramatic backdrop, providing an unparalleled MLS experience for fans and players alike," said Meis Architects in a description of the stadium on its website.
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DPMT7 design collective explores entropy at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center

Work by DPMT7, a Cincinnati-based architecture/design collective, is now on show at The Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in downtown Cincinnati. DPMT7: Un Teatro Del Nuovo fills the gallery with a scaffolding structure and examines the “role of Architecture (“A” for emphasis) in a world of entropy.” The unprogrammed web of frames and lines divides the two-story gallery into smaller intimate spaces. On the lower level, construction scaffolding, safety nets, and other rough materials define the space. “The simplicity of the line moves through the city,” reads the gallery statement, “reinforcing the degradation of the existing without masking it.” The upper level is filled with models of multiple scales, including a set of large columns built from numerous raw construction materials. These elements are augmented by large scale drawings and collages. DPMT7 is a collective based at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Led by Vincent Sansalone, the team also includes Ryan Ball, Kory Beighle, Sean Cottengim, Nicholas Germann, Whitney Hamaker, and Joseph Kinzelman. DPMT7: Un Teatro Del Nuovo Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery Aronoff Center for the Arts 650 Walnut Street Cincinnati, Ohio Through August 27th
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Cincinnati builds what will be the country’s first Net Zero Energy police station

The City of Cincinnati has recently put the final touches on perhaps the country’s most sustainable police stations. Recently certified LEED Platinum, the District Three Police Station is set to become the first Net Zero Energy police station in the country. Designed by Cincinnati-based emersion DESIGN in close collaboration with Messer Construction, the project was conceived as design-build from the beginning. The team was responsible for the architecture, interior design, structural engineering, sustainable consulting, and public engagement. Landscape design was handled by Cincinnati-based Human Nature. The new station was a long time coming. The former District Three Police Station was over 100 years old, and the city as a whole has not built a new police station in over 40 years. In replacing the station, the city looked at 27 different sites and 14 neighborhoods in the district to find the most impactful location. The site the city chose is in the West Price Hill Neighborhood Center, which has been pegged for transformation. The hope is the station will help spur development, and add to the area's improved pedestrian and bicycle focus. The project team held a series of community charrettes and the design aims for a physical connection with the nearby area: a colonnade in front of the station corresponds with 14 identical columns located throughout the district. emersion Design used various energy models to test the project's orientation, massing, fenestration, and thermal envelope qualities. A compact building footprint, advanced storm water system, and extensive drought tolerant landscaping opens the project to the public and showcases its sustainability goals. Other sustainable technologies used include a roof covered in photovoltaics and 40 geo-exchange wells. The construction process was also carefully planned to reduce waste. A total of 80.34 percent of the project’s construction diverted waste away from the region’s limited landfills. The design also called for recycled and local materials, and 97 percent Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. The District Three Police Station is the City of Cincinnati’s way of setting a benchmark for other civic buildings in the city and across the country.
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University of Cincinnati breaks ground on Henning Larsen’s first U.S. project

The University of Cincinnati (UC) has broken ground on what will be the first U.S. project for Denmark-based Henning Larsen Architects. The 225,000-square-foot Carl H. Lindner College of Business will take two years to build at a cost of $120 million. Henning Larsen’s design focuses on encouraging interaction and allowing for future flexibility. Specifically designed to work with UC’s West Campus master plan, the building will be a central meeting place for the entire campus. As a nexus of activity, the project is boarded by a new transit stop, the Campus Green, a bustling pedestrian way, the campus Library, and a new plaza. The ground floor interacts with the Campus Green's landscaped mounds and numerous pedestrian paths through varied stepped levels. The green roofscape continues the connection with the surrounding campus via multiple lookout points, all varying in height to address neighboring structures. The roof's curving lines also make reference to the pedestrian paths below. Large open-air atria puncture the four-story building at different levels, bringing in light and air to the heart of the project. The interior space planning aims to bring faculty, students, and the greater Cincinnati business community together. Public functions fill the completely transparent ground level. A lecture hall and auditorium make up the largest programmed spaces, while a seating staircase and indoor and outdoor furniture allow for more informal meetings. Quieter spaces line some of the atria, allowing students to work under natural light. Along with a goal of achieving LEED Gold Certification, the project utilized Henning Larsen’s dedicated sustainability specialists throughout the entire design process. The team analyzed everything from wind forces to solar loads and local microclimates. Simulations based on that data were used to inform the form and orientation of the project. Henning Larsen has lead the design of the project while Cincinnati-based KZF Design is acting as architect of record. The design was chosen through a competition, with the Henning Larsen/KZF team beating out a shortlist that included Foster+Partners . The competition was part of the University’s Signature Architecture Program, which has helped bring work by the likes of Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Thom Mayne to the campus.
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Under Construction> Early Childhood Center at Cincinnati Country Day School

Adding to an impressive portfolio of projects on Cincinnati Country Day School’s campus, Michael McInturf Architects (MMA) has completed designs for the private school's latest addition: a 4-classroom house-like structure for 18-month to 3-year olds. The campus, 15 miles from downtown Cincinnati, includes a high school structure designed in collaboration with Greg Lynn circa 2001.   Since then, the firm has engaged in multiple rounds of masterplanning studies yielding a new elementary school, a sports pavilion, and a maintenance facility. MMA is also currently planning a major renovation to the campus athletic center and anticipates a completion date of late 2016 for this Early Childhood Center project. The facility will include a sculptural playscape—an outdoor landscape that formally connects the school to its neighboring elementary school—and a nature trail for programmed outdoor activities. The architects say this new “home” for Early Childhood education at Cincinnati Country Day will provide a "welcoming, fun and inspiring environment to house such a critical aspect of the campus experience." While facilitating improved learning and safety for the newest members of the campus, the design seeks to reinforce a core value of the distinctive educational program: a connection to nature. The design is informed by spatial equity, light, views, and play. A continuous “Ribbon Wall” weaves the spaces together to create a playful interaction between interior and exterior. The wall, formed from custom bent plywood, will be clad in a dark stained hardwood rainscreen. Roof monitors register four classroom spaces equally distributed radially around a central gathering space. The building is organized along a solar axis that maximizes natural daylight for each of the classroom spaces with respect to their most active use periods. Construction is anticipated to be complete later this year.
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Frederick and Harriet Rauh Residence wins Residential Design Award of Excellence from Docomomo

A modernist dwelling in the leafy village of Woodlawn near Cincinnati has picked up the Residential Design Award of Excellence from the Docomomo 2016 Modernism in America Awards. Less than a decade ago, the house—formerly owned by Frederick and Harriet Rauh—was in a mire of dereliction and decay. Located on 10068 Leacrest Road and originally built in 1938, the Rauh residency was designed by architect John H. Becker but had fallen victim to vandalism and neglect. In 2010, daughter of the original owners, Emily Rauh Pulitzer (an in-law of Joseph Pulitzer) donated the house, and funds to return it to its former glory, to the Cincinnati Preservation Association. Carrying out the restoration process was construction firm of Crapsey and Giles. Such was the success of their work, the house has also won a Preservation Merit Award by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO). "Preservation of modern architecture is not always an obvious choice," said Paul Muller, executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, to The Architect's Newspaper. "Since modernist buildings are close in time to us, and have not taken the glow of the distance past, many are in danger of just looking wore out, or worse, out-of-date, but not yet historic. One of the most rewarding aspects of the restoration of the Rauh house was that, because it was such an innovative design when built in 1938, the building still has a powerful impact on visitors. It has an exceptional ability to show how the modern style incorporated flowing space, connected the inside to the exterior, used abstract shapes to make intriguing compositions and celebrated industrial materials. We are lucky to have such an important example of modernism the restored to its original glory."
Jury Chair, Frederick A. Bland, FAIA, AICP meanwhile said: “An unusual example of the International Style of modernism in Ohio, this scholarly and holistic approach to the preservation of this severely deteriorated house and site will provide future generations a rich example of the full spectrum of many components of modernism. Not only will the building itself be preserved but also the landscape, furnishings, and art. A laudable added feature, a public outreach program including tours and symposia, is intended to engage and instruct the public.”
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Cincinnati’s CAC to host a celebration of the life and work of Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid’s untimely death has triggered a global conversation surveying her work and status in the history of the discipline. A wealth of former educators, partners, and colleagues has illuminated Zaha’s professional body of work with deeply personal tributes. Their words help to break down her mystique for the rest of us, and perhaps add another dimension to a body of work that spans over three decades. Adding to the conversation is an upcoming event at the Hadid-designed Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. The building is notably her first project in the United States, and has been called the first major museum in the United States to be designed by a female architect. Part panel discussion, part celebration, the event will be, according to CAC Director Raphaela Platow, an “afternoon of storytelling.” The program will survey Zaha’s work to the present, speculate on her firm’s future projects. Beyond this, a discussion of the CAC’s commission and construction promises to share stories of the famed architect’s working process. “Equity in Architecture—Zaha Hadid’s mentorship,” presented by Associate Dean of DAAP Patricia Kucker, will explore Zaha’s influence to architects worldwide as a woman that broke through barriers and challenged perceptions.
Platow said Hadid’s selection to design the CAC was aligned with their mission to celebrate cutting-edge work: “When our committee selected Zaha as the architect of The Rosenthal Center she had only successfully finished one building but her ideas, plans, models, and competition submissions where beyond remarkable; they were back then already showing a future path for architecture.” “Celebrating the Life and Work of Zaha Hadid” will be held at the Contemporary Arts Center on May 7th from 1:00-3:30pm. Free and open to the public. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: EVENT SPEAKERS:
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Do Ho Suh’s ethereal art at the Cincinnati CAC

Walking the streets of downtown Cincinnati, it is easy to miss Zaha Hadid’s Contemporary Arts Center (CAC)—especially to those on the lookout for the free-flowing parametrically derived forms. The CAC is something different. Boxy and monolithic, its gallery volumes give way to a generous interior lobby that is surprisingly porous. Views up through the six floors of galleries are pierced by a continuous thread of stair runs. It was here in the lobby that an inspired Do Ho Suh met with curator Steven Matijcio, embarking on a two-year journey that has led to Passage, a landmark survey of the Korean artist’s work.

Suh’s work is a deeply personal exploration, mapping identity, memory, and his reflections on the idea of home. The artist—living transnationally among Seoul, New York, and London—produces work that strides between the intimate space of the individual and collective networks that bind us together. Passage contains a remarkable range of media: Six new pieces are dispersed alongside drawings, videos, architectural models, and Suh’s iconic, highly detailed “transportable fabric” sculptures.

While it is easy to become seduced by the quality of objects resulting from various mapping techniques aimed at documenting abstract memories and emotions, the most compelling aspect of the exhibition is not Suh’s artwork. Rather, it is the ways in which Suh’s virtually constructed spaces seem to haunt Hadid’s architecture. Traversing the galleries through a continuous staircase system allows Suh to take the visitor on a path through his personal history. Ghostlike forms float in the background behind the CAC’s powerful massing. Suh’s videos mutate from a solitary screen along a vast gallery wall to an immersive projection, which literally envelops the viewer. At the terminus to the exhibit, a dead-end corridor invites potentially lost visitors to reflect on their understanding of home. 

A significant example of the dialogue between Suh and Hadid is how Suh’s fabric sculpture Reflection is revealed to visitors. We first stumble upon the sculpture almost accidentally. Turning a corner, a blue archway modeled after Suh’s childhood home hangs upside-down overhead—its ornate roof tiling and decorative wall patterning conveniently at eye level. A fabric ground plane conceals the remainder of the sculpture, which is revealed only upon leaving the gallery. Here, we finally see the entirety of the piece. A doubling of the image consumes nearly the entire volume of the gallery below. A changing of perspective, enabled by Hadid’s architecture, reveals new views into Suh’s world. Continuing to exit the galleries, one must walk through the hallway of Suh’s New York stairwell, as if leaving his apartment before continuing down Hadid’s stairwell. Suh’s works in these cases have been carefully arranged to heighten the reveal through a careful juxtaposition within Hadid’s circulation system. Walking through the CAC is temporarily no longer about experiencing Hadid’s space, it is about experiencing Suh’s.

Another key moment occurs on the upper floor where limitless virtual space is explored. The stair, leading to the upper level of the exhibition, begins in a dark space enclosed in fabric where models of vernacular houses from Suh’s life have been grafted into foreign contexts. Exiting the room, the viewer is presented with a series of multicolored fabric rooms, becoming narrower and narrower, until dead-ending in a video area where a camera steadily moves, drone-like, through the streets of Korea. A sense of discomfort arises. First presented with loose hand drawings, Suh’s work has a mechanistically precise quality deeper into the exhibition. When this initial fuzziness gives way to precision, our senses heighten as we try to process the details. It’s as if Suh’s memories are becoming clearer as we proceed—or as if the separation between virtual and physical is not so distinct.

At times, Suh’s work feels uneasy and foreign in Hadid’s building, while at other points along his “passage,” the work feels strangely made for her space: “magically site-specific” in the words of Matijcio. Perhaps this is a result of aesthetic differences in their projects. Suh’s use of color as an organizational strategy—a mapping tool to communicate geographical information—activates Hadid’s muted museum palette. Hadid’s broad, sweeping architectural gestures play nicely with Suh’s borderline obsessive attention to detail. Both are motivated by a utopian ideal: The museum as a central meeting place open to the city, and the search for humanity’s deeper collective unity.

Compelling art exhibitions are able to ground the viewer and offer an immersive engagement with the subject matter, while allowing space for moments of self-reflection and imagination. This is where Passage succeeds. By pairing Suh’s work with the fundamental diagram of the building, Hadid’s CAC has been suddenly activated and transformed. The dialogue produced by these two architectures—one embedded into the city, the other momentary and fleeting elevates both the work of the architect and the work of the artist to an excitingly synergistic level. When it all comes down on September 11, 2016, perhaps the real question will be how Hadid’s galleries will feel once the nebulous images of Suh’s past have vanished.

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Cincinnati preservationists fight to save 124-year-old Dennison Hotel

Spearheading the efforts to save the Dennison is the Cincinnati Preservation Collective (CPC). Preservationist have argued that if the Dennison is razed, then no historic buildings in the downtown are safe. The owners of the property, Columbia Development Corp., have said that they want to build a Class-A office tower on the site to attract a Fortune 500 company. The CPC is skeptical, citing the fact that Columbia Development Corp. has bought and razed buildings claiming to have development plans only to leave the property as a surface parking lot. In one case an entire block was demolished and has sat as a parking lot for 29 years. Columbia Development has gone through the steps to assess the feasibility of redevelopment or complete rebuilding of the site. A document filed with the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board outlines the condition of the building as well as the cost of redevelopment. The document states that the building's poor condition currently poses a public safety and that redevelopment would be cost prohibitive. The document also describes one of the reasons Columbia Development bought the property: “This acquisition was necessary to protect the family’s investment in this block of downtown Cincinnati,” referring to the investments made by the Columbia Development Corps. and its parent Joseph Auto Group in the nearby area. The hotel's previous owners had planned to redevelop the building as affordable housing or transitional housing for persons with disabilities or addiction transitioning out of homelessness. Columbia Development Corp. will present their vision for the site, and request a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the building, in a public hearing in front of the Historic Conservation Board at 4pm EDT on Monday, April 18th at the Cincinnati City Hall.
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Cincinnati’s century-old abandoned rapid-transit rail project

Beginning as early as the 1880s, and continuing through the 1920s, a 16-mile rapid-transit rail project was conceived in Cincinnati, entering a construction phase that to this day remains incomplete. At the time, Cincinnati was one of the top 10 most populated cities and urban congestion was at an extreme capacity. An underground subway was proposed, replacing an aging canal system, connecting downtown with its surrounding urban neighborhoods. The proposed system facilitated an interurban transportation network incorporating nine suburban electric railroads that transferred passengers to streetcars servicing downtown. The project has been called the “The Cousin of Boston's Red Line” by transit experts and, if completed, would have been one of the few pre-WWII subways in the country, joining similar east coast systems still in operation to this day. Complex political, economic, and social forces caused the project to be ultimately cancelled in 1928. “Throughout the project, State and Federal law kept interfering with what Cincinnati wanted to do,” says researcher and documentary photographer Jake Mecklenborg in an interview with historian Dan Hurley. Local politics didn’t help the project either. As post-war inflation caused lingering project costs to double, political leadership was transformed from a notoriously corrupt regime to a new political party which sought to differentiate itself by symbolically rejecting the project through divisive rhetoric and policy. In total, six stations along 11 miles of the system were constructed, but no track was laid and no subway cars were ordered. About 75 percent of the original construction—nearly everything above ground—has deteriorated to the point of collapse, or was demolished for highway infrastructure in the 1950s, a quarter century after being constructed. A two-mile stretch under downtown Cincinnati remains, linking three stations. The downtown tunnels are continuously maintained due to continual overhead vehicular traffic, and their adopted use as underground utility tunnels. The final cost to the city, at just over $13 million, was more than double the initial bond issue voted for by the electorate in 1916, and was not paid off until 1966. Perhaps the most interesting aspect to living with abandoned subway tunnels is the variety of alternative uses they inspire. The Liberty Street station was converted to a nuclear fallout shelter in the 1960s. Mecklenborg reports the shelter had radio gear and a phone system installed: “up until around 1990 this phone actually worked, and apparently tunnel vandals could make free calls. I have received several e-mails regarding the phone—one claimed that a pizza was ordered, and another said a buddy called his girlfriend in Paris.” A few of the most noteworthy attempts at reuse (most of which never succeeded due to logistical and/or legal issues) include:
  • Underground utility tunnels
  • Religious catacombs
  • Underground freight train delivery to downtown businesses
  • Underground winery with locally produced wine cellar storage
  • Experimental wind tunnel
  • Music festival location
  • Movie set location (Batman Forever)
  • Various light rail schemes
 
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Henning Larsen selected to design University of Cincinnati business school

The team of Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects and Cincinnati-based KZF Design have been selected by University of Cincinnati to design and construct the new $100 million Carl H. Lindner College of Business. The project will consist of 250,000 square foot of class rooms and facilities and will sit on the site of the current Russel C. Myers Alumni Center. The team was selected from a shortlist of three offices that also included London’s Foster+Partners and Bath, U.K.–based FCB Studios International. The process of picking international firms for the project is part of the University’s Signature Architecture Program, a campus planning program which has brought world renounced architects to the University of Cincinnati to design campus buildings for the past 15 years. Henning Larsen will join Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Thom Mayne, among others, in having a project on the Uptown campus. KZF Design will act as the local architect of record on the project. The interdisciplinary firm provides architecture, engineering, interiors, and planning, throughout the United States, and has worked on the University of Cincinnati campus in the past. Previously KZF worked with Thom Mayne as part of the Signature Architecture Program on the UC Campus Recreation Center. Founded in 1959, Henning Larsen Architects is known for its civic and cultural work, including the crystalline Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland and the more recent Kolding Campus at the University of Southern Denmark. With work throughout Europe and the Middle East, this project will be Henning Larsen’s first major project in the United States. Drawing on the traditions of Scandinavian design, their work often focuses on the control of natural light and the making of central communal spaces.