In one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cleveland, a group of architects, designers, and software developers are imagining the future of citizen-led urban development. Collective Reality: Image without Ownership took over an empty ground-floor retail space in Slavic Village earlier this month, featuring a low-fi installation of bright red foam, matte-black steel frames and an invisible, virtual overlay of crowdsourced urban objects. The installation, as explained by the creators, was meant to “allow citizens to engage in conversations about urban development by creating images of possible neighborhood futures.” The team behind this piece, Laida Aguirre (stock-a-studio), McLain Clutter and Cyrus Peñarroyo (EXTENTS), and Mark Lindquist, hailing from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning and the School of Environment and Sustainability, collaborated directly with the Slavic Village Development nonprofit group and LANDstudio to create a space which is referred to as a “laboratory for the development of the Collective Reality software.” The software, programmed by two other University of Michigan researchers, Frank Deaton and Oliver Popadich, is an augmented reality application that filled the exhibition space with a growing collection of virtual objects, spaces and, to the expectations of its creators, prospects of a new imagined city. Slavic Village, located near the industrial valley of Cleveland, has experienced a difficult decade of stagnant development after a majority of properties foreclosed during the 2007 financial crisis. While the housing bubble’s burst may seem like the primary culprit for its decrepit state, the neighborhood fits a list of textbook definitions for urban decline: The rapid disappearance of manufacturing, declining populations, loss of urban amenities, high amount of low-quality housing, poverty, and crime. Perhaps the most relevant ingredient in this cocktail of urban depression is the lack of outside investment, where only a few courageous individuals have decided to stake a claim in the future of this important area. It is this last ingredient which Collective Reality attempts to confront. Conventional urban development depends on capital to both create and envisage change; growth depends on how well an idea can be imaged, presented, and sold, typically consuming vast amounts of resources during its approval processes. Slick renderings require advanced computing and educated skill sets. Maps and other forms of urban planning communication are criticized for their exclusivity to the disciplines which produced it. Community board meetings, one potential space for citizen engagement, often take place in difficult to reach places or during times of which individuals can not afford to attend. These structures of urban development privilege wealth over local embedded knowledge, especially in places like Slavic Village where the socioeconomic divide is drastic. The team of Michigan-based researchers questions this status quo, asking if technology—specifically augmented reality—can offer opportunities to separate imagination from monetary means. The installation's interactive process empowers citizens to bridge this planning gap through devices more familiar to the everyday urban user. Upon entering the space, visitors are presented with a prompt—a request to capture several photographs of favorite spaces, places, and objects around the neighborhood with no more than a camera phone. Photographs are sent to the researchers, photogrammetrically transformed into three-dimensional objects, and then placed within the virtual environment of the gallery space. Visitors were encouraged to use one of the provided tablets to interact, manipulate and explore the collective imagination embedded within the augmented reality application. The physical installation, while seemingly in competition with its virtual counterpart, offered material targets for the application to recognize and attach to. In reality, the exhibition was no more than a funhouse of soft foam blocks to play with and climb on, at least in the minds of the children that visited. While the creators and their beta-stage augmented reality software ask important questions on citizen engagement, bottom-up planning, and collective empowerment in the age of ever-increasingly accessible technology, the physical nature of the gallery permits its users to actually act out their collective imagination. The bare, unadorned geometries of the red foam and steel frames were reminiscent of the simplistic playgrounds designed by Aldo van Eyck in post-war Amsterdam. It was the playground, he argued, which literally gives space to the imagination. This unintentional consequence of Collective Reality points out an important aspect of community development: the spaces and architectures which promote social interactivity are vitally important to the creative imagining of possible futures. Collective Reality: Image without Ownership ended on October 19, 2019. The gallery is located at 5322 Fleet Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44015.
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The new Zero Threshold Design Competition has proclaimed that it “refuses to surrender form to function”—an apt rallying cry for a challenge sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation aimed at soliciting bold proposals from around the world that address real-world accessibility concerns. Winners are given the chance to win $10,000 and the opportunity to realize their project in the competition’s hometown of Cleveland. The 2019 award went to the New York City-based BRANDT : HAFERD for their project SIDE by SIDE, which incorporated the firm’s playful claymation model aesthetic with three major design principles to create a truly accessible house of the future: An Urban Approach, A New Take on the Multi Family / Communal House, and Accessibility at Many Scales. The 'Urban Approach' concept is inherent in the site of the competition, a “fringe” location between the city’s residential quarter and its industrial sector. These edges are an existing social condition in many contemporary cities and are crucial points to study how to connect people in both urban contexts. Throughout the design and proposed execution, partners Brandt Knapp and Jerome Haferd thought about the community holistically, including how to integrate not just of the disabled members of the neighborhood but of residents at all levels of capability. The proposed design is far from static or sterile, with surprising elements like a double-height lift taking center stage as the core of the theoretical home, replacing the traditional staircase. Enjoyment of the neighborhood outside of the built structure is also taken into consideration, from a rethinking of the local bus system to add more stops, complete streets, and communal gardens both behind the lot and on the top floor. SIDE by SIDE is not just about serving those with physical disabilities, but about truly serving a community as a whole—celebrating accessibility not just as an end-goal but as a catalyst for design at all scales. The competition took in over 100 submissions from teams from India to Sweden, illustrating how issues of access are truly global in scale, yet necessarily local in their execution. The aim of Zero Threshold hopes that maybe, through collaboration with winning firms and designers, Cleveland can become an access-success story, inspiring design initiatives like Zero Threshold in cities around the world.
Within the last three months, two rustbelt cities have opened international art exhibitions. Cleveland, Ohio, debuted FRONT International in July, and this weekend Pittsburgh opened its 57th Carnegie International. While FRONT sends artists and art-tourists into sites throughout the city, this year’s Carnegie International keeps its art in and around its own house. The exhibition draws visitors to Andrew Carnegie’s immense, turn-of-the-century building—a complex with two museums, a concert hall, and library all under one roof—and proves that its long institutional history is a fertile ground for provocative new work. The notion of an “international” exhibition perhaps still conjures the hubris of the industrialist who founded the show in 1896 to identify the “old masters of tomorrow.” But this year’s curators, Ingrid Schaffner along with Liz Park and Ashley McNelis, aimed to use the exhibition to spark “museum joy.” The curatorial joy is certainly contagious, evident even in the team’s abolition of wall texts, which Schaffner denounces in favor of a bound book developed with Dancing Fox Press that hearkens back to a 19th-century travel guide. By saturating the building with new artwork, the 57th Carnegie International strives to construct new narratives and celebrate the art as a lived experience with architectural and artistic juxtapositions. The exhibition may be bounded by the museum walls, but the 32 artists and collectives, as well as one independent exhibition maker have taken it upon themselves to respond to Pittsburgh’s local histories and regional conditions that still have international resonance. The 57th Carnegie International is open now through March 25, 2019. Admission is free with tickets to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.
In honor of NASA’s 60th anniversary, the Mexico City and New York–based firm TEN Arquitectos has designed an anchor for the space agency’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The X-shaped Research Support Building (RSB), formed from two bisecting volumes, will create a central hub for the collection of World War II–era buildings that currently make up the Glenn Research Center. The research center, founded in 1940 as an aircraft research laboratory and integrated into NASA after the agency’s founding in 1958, is named after the Ohioan astronaut of the same name. The “behind the scenes” facility, one of 10 at NASA, is responsible for much of the agency’s fundamental, technological, and rocket science research. The new 60,000-square-foot RSB broke ground on September 26, and once the building is complete, will create a nexus for the now-scattered campus where researchers can collaborate, relax, and engage in interdisciplinary dialogue. The building’s cross-shaped massing speaks to that purpose, and by cantilevering the upper floors and cladding them in glass, TEN Arquitectos has afforded visitors 270-degree views of the campus. The RSB’s materiality will reflect the rest of the campus’s industrial feel. TEN Arquitectos has chosen to wrap the ground-level volume—which will hold meeting rooms, private offices, and a store—in corrugated metal accented with punch windows, and the second-story’s structural steel trusses have been left visible. Two double-height, glass-walled atriums will divide the first floor’s open plan and additional offices and conference rooms will live in the floating second story, as will restaurants on either end of the volume. The cantilevering second floor will align with the campus’s central artery, Taylor Road, to create a large covered plaza underneath. The campus will also gain 6,000 square feet of new landscaping in the form of the newly-christened Wright Commons. Construction of both projects is expected to wrap up sometime in 2020.
The expressed goal of the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is to shine a spotlight on the cultural landscape of Cleveland, a city many might overlook when thinking of art hubs. The organizers of FRONT, of which there are many, are taking their chances on yet another triennial/biennial event but are decidedly not relying on a market-based model, like Art Basel or the closer Expo Chicago. In doing so the city is hoping to set itself apart and focus on the cultural aspects of the art, rather than the scene of art culture. The first thing that will strike visitors to FRONT is its scope. With this year’s theme, An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, it can honestly be said that the show spans much of the city, including dipping its toes into Lake Erie. With no single institution claiming the show as its own, each of the city's major art museums and a number of galleries and universities have worked in unison to produce the encompassing show. It is a credit to Curator Lisa Kurzner, Artistic Director Michelle Grabner, Executive Director Fred Bidwell, and their team that such a complex undertaking could be negotiated. Public spaces and government buildings also get in on the act with massive new murals, large-scale sculptures, and a number of temporary installations. In many ways, these pieces, outside of typical presentation settings, are the most striking. Possibly the least expected of the non-traditional spaces to show art is the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Completed in 1923, and fully adorned in ornate gold and marble details, the lobby of the bank is home to a mesmerizing video and sound installation entitled Volatility Smile by New York-based Midwest-native Philip Vanderhyden. The 24-channel video of digitally rendered abstract forms plays with imagery pulled directly from the space itself. A similarly poignant installation fills the large gallery of the downtown Cleveland Public Library. The American Library continues Yinka Shonibare's research-based cultural art practice. The piece is composed of thousands of books covered in African cloth and embossed with the names of American immigrants. The bright color and context of the piece make accessible the timely content, which builds on Shonibare's work dealing with post-colonialism around the world. The work within the established art museums and galleries is broad-ranging and varied, and many pieces are not to be missed. At Case Western University and MOCA Cleveland, a giant silver hand by sculptor Tony Tasset welcomes guests to the museum and the university, both of which are also participating in FRONT. The inside of the Farshid Moussavi-designed MOCA Cleveland echoes with the soundtrack of Cyprien Gaillard’s Nightlife, a slow-motion 3-D video installation of animated urban plant life. It is as intoxicatingly beautiful as it is hypnotizing. Equally powerful, if not much quieter, is what may be the hidden gem of the entire exhibition. Located in the oldest church in Cleveland along a quiet street, Night Coming Tenderly, Black by photographer Dawoud Bey exemplifies the type of work that FRONT is aiming to promote. Both regionally specific and universally accessible, the large installation fills the pews of St. John’s Episcopal Church with almost completely black images depicting landscapes that escaped slaves traveling the Underground Railroad would have encountered. Appropriately, the church itself was the final stop along the perilous system of safe heavens before escapees crossed Lake Erie into Canada. The placement of the large-scale prints in the pews allows for viewers to sit unusually close to the images, making them incredibly immersive as one studies their intense shadowy detail. In many ways, FRONT International has set itself up to achieve its goal of bringing the world to Cleveland. The array of work is a testament to the cooperation between institutions, which would seem unlikely to happen in the more competitive art scenes of larger cities. The work is often both specific to Cleveland as well as relevant to outsiders. Taken in all together, the show is exciting and shows the potential when a city like Cleveland puts on an international exhibition. Does the world need another art festival? Perhaps not, but if we are going to get one, Cleveland seems to have figured out a way to make it worthwhile.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, has launched a new program to accommodate people with sensory sensitivities. Starting August 24, the museum will offer visitors free kits with a variety of equipment that they can use throughout their visit. According to Cleveland Scene, the kits include "noise-dampening headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, weighted lap pads, and other resources." The Hall of Fame joins a variety of institutions that have taken similar steps toward inclusivity in recent years. Smithsonian reported earlier this year on a variety of D.C. museums that have tried to become more sensory friendly by opening early for quiet hours or by creating dimly-lit spaces that visitors can retreat to should they become overwhelmed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers a sensory friendly guide that highlights spaces that tend to be quiet and dimly lit along with spaces that are often loud and crowded. Autism Friendly Spaces, a New York–based nonprofit whose mission is to "unlock minds and transform spaces to welcome the full participation of the autism community," says that sensory friendly spaces adjust "the auditory, visual, and olfactory stimulation to levels acceptable for the population that will be experiencing it." People with autism spectrum disorder may be "more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature," according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For museums like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sensory sensitivity poses a real challenge because many shows are designed to stimulate a variety of senses at once. As Smithsonian noted, exhibition design has trended toward multisensory experiences that are more than purely visual displays. The sensitivity kits offer a variety of tools that can either dampen sensory input or offer coping mechanisms, like the fidget tools or weighted lap pads, and they are one way in which museum design is tackling inclusivity and accessibility more broadly.
Brooklyn-based SO-IL and Cleveland’s JKurtz Architects have been chosen to design Cleveland’s new Martin Luther King, Jr. branch of the public library system. The team was selected by the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) Board of Trustees on June 15, beating out other big-name teams including MASS Design Group with LDA Architects, and Bialosky Cleveland with Vines Architecture. The winning scheme is laden with design flourishes that nod to King’s legacy and seek to bring people together. “We looked to Dr. King’s words for our inspiration. The table of brotherhood led us to our vision—a table large enough to host all communities,” said co-founder of SO-IL Jing Liu during their presentation before the board. “What we made here is not a static symbol but a place where people come together and interact.” The “table of brotherhood,” a metaphor from King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, will be physically embodied at the new branch by a large, multi-use table at the heart of the team’s plan. A staircase up to an elevated area will reference King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and patrons can find the library’s future collection of Anisfield-Wolf books; those that recognize racism and celebrate diversity. A “virtual garden,” interactive “Freedom Map” podium, a “Living Wall” that projects rearranging words, and a “Virtual Garden” are all in the works for the new museum. “SO-IL + JKurtz proposed a functional, beautiful space that speaks to Dr. King’s vision of social justice and equality. The Board found the design inventive and creative, with many features that can make this branch world-class,” said Maritza Rodriguez, President of the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees in a statement. The city is now in negotiations with the architectural team, and no construction date or budget have been made public yet. The old Martin Luther King, Jr. library will stay open until the new branch is finished.
Gensler has replaced New York firm SHoP Architects on the design for the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. SHoP had revealed its designs for the Cleveland Cavaliers' basketball stadium, known as "The Q," in December 2016. Work was scheduled to begin on the $140 million project the following year; however, work was delayed for a number of reasons. A spokesperson for Gensler confirmed to AN that Detroit-based stadia specialists Rossetti, who worked with SHoP on the original project, remain involved. Renderings given to AN by Gensler show the arena's overall design is mostly unchanged. Gensler's design team will come mostly from its Washington D.C. office and be spearheaded by Ryan Sickman, who holds the position of Firmwide Sports Practice Area Leader at the firm. Len Komoroski, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO, commented that Gensler was "well-positioned" for the "extensive transformation" of the 24-year-old arena. "Their experience and global foot print are a great match for this project and the image of Cleveland that will be projected around the world from The Q" he continued in a statement, adding: "The project is off to a great start and we look forward to seeing this unique, impactful transformation come to life." Surprisingly, another collaboration between the two firms wasn't on the cards, despite Gensler and SHoP having previously worked together on the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, another stadium revamp. The former was completed almost exactly a year ago today. In 2013, SHoP's design for a New York City F.C. stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was given the boot amid opposition. "I like the idea of a soccer venue in New York City… What I'm not crazy about is the fact that they want to take public park land in the process," said New York City Comptroller John Liu at the time regarding plans to plonk the 25,000-seat stadium on up to 13 acres in the park. After scouting the Bronx, Columbia University and Belmont Park in Nassau County, and failing to secure a stadium site, New York City F.C. is still on the hunt for a home. Despite only being 22 years old, the Quicken Loans Arena is one of the oldest facilities in use on the National Basketball Association circuit. SHoP's design featured a new glazed facade which stretches the stadium’s footprint closer to the street edge. This fenestration reveals an undulating arrangement of what appears to be wood panels which, given their location well inside the facade and north-facing orientation, don’t seem to serve any shading purpose. Aside from aesthetics, entrance and exit gangway areas will witness an increase in space, thus aiding circulation—a necessity considering The Q hosts more than 200 events every year.
Cyprien Gaillard’s 3-D "Nightlife" offers mesmerizing look at cities and their histories of resistance
Marcel Duchamp Prize-winning artist Cyprien Gaillard’s film Nightlife (2015), currently on view for the first time in the United States at Gladstone Gallery in New York, is a portrait of the living city. Gaillard, who was born in Paris and lives and works between New York and Berlin, practices across media, including photo, film, and sculpture. He is known for his meditations on memory, history, and failure—including work on the legacy and present of modern architecture. His latest film, Nightlife, was filmed with advanced imaging techniques and drones, and the camera flows and glides between close-up, abstract shots to floating arial views with ease. Upon entering the gallery, a nautilus shell in a recessed light box mounted in a black wall marks the entrance to the screening area. Viewers are offered 3-D glasses, which enhance the hallucinatory, ecstatic nature of the piece. Though comprising seemingly abstract shots—swaying trees, fireworks, city streets, aerial views of buildings, all, of course, shot at night—the film is deeply allegorical, telling a complex history of revolution and resistance through objects, plants, and buildings that live and breathe as characters. Presented without caption or narration, the film advances in what might be described as four acts through Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Berlin, coming full circle in Cleveland again. The film opens on an almost indiscernible closeup of a plant before moving on to Rodin’s The Thinker, outside the Cleveland Museum of Art. The spinning camera revels in the sculpture’s apparent decay, the result of a 1970 bombing by the radical left-wing organization the Weather Underground. Nightlife then advances to Los Angeles, where it depicts dancing, rioting trees on the streets of the city—primarily the Hollywood Juniper, a non-native species that has been a recurring motif in Gaillard’s work. Shored up against the architectural forms, the trees not only trouble the boundaries of natural and artificial, but also evoke notions of indigeneity, migration, and belonging. The trees' movements might also be read more explicitly as a reference to the so-called L.A. riots of 1992 and to other forms of civil action and resistance. Though arguably all of Nightlife depicts the city as protagonist, the most explicitly architectural moment is the third act, which features the Berlin Olympiastadion. Built for the 1936 Olympics, the stadium served as a monument to the Third Reich. It now functions as a space for a variety of events, including an annual fireworks competition, the Pyronale, which is displayed in the film in explosive technicolor. The film returns to Cleveland, landing on American runner Jesse Owens's Olympic oak tree planted at the Ford Rhodes High School. Owens, whose four gold medal wins as a black athlete at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany flew in the face the Third Reich’s extensive racist propaganda campaign, was awarded an oak sapling for each of his gold medals (the oak tree serves as a symbol of Germany). In lieu of the sound of its settings, the film loops a sample of Alton Ellis's Blackman's Word (1969) throughout, its repetition pulling the viewer into Nightlife’s self-contained world even more completely and unifying the disparate scenes. (Originally featuring the refrain “I was born a loser,” it was re-recorded in 1971 as “I was born a winner.” Critically, both versions feature in the film.) Not merely a vibrant portrait of cities at night, Nightlife traces the residue of history left on the landscape—be it "natural" or built. Nightlife originally appeared at Sprüth Magers in Berlin and is on view at Gladstone Gallery through April 14th. Cyprien Gaillard: Nightlife Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21st Street,New York, NY Through April 14th
On July 14 the inaugural FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art opens in Cleveland, Ohio, marking the latest in a string of art, design, and architecture events across the Midwest. Although it is primarily arts focused—unlike the Chicago Biennial and Exhibit Columbus—the theme, “An American City” and the dramatic backdrop of Cleveland’s downtown lend itself to several architecturally significant installations. “We are very much aware of putting the exhibition within the context of a cityscape,” said Fred Bidwell, executive director of the triennial. “It is not about Cleveland, per say, it is about using Cleveland as a canvas for the artists in an urban context.” The potentially most striking exhibition is Canvas City, a mural program across approximately nine downtown blocks that revives Cleveland’s 1973 City Canvases program and Julian Stanczak’s iconic mural. FRONT will restore Stanczak’s mural on its original twelve-story building on Prospect Avenue and Ninth Street. Over the next three years, more murals will be completed throughout the city by contemporary artists Odili Donald Odita, Sarah Morris, Heimo Zobernig, and Kay Rosen. “In the 1970s, the mural program was part of a blight remediation movement to help revitalize a very bleak condition,” said Bidwell. “Now, this is not a remediation, but a celebration and a way to enhance the city with new works by important artists and a tribute to Julian.” For this first triennial FRONT will create augmented reality versions of the proposed artworks. Cleveland Clinic, which is already home to a renowned art collection, is adding two new artworks, a wall painting by abstract artist Jan van der Ploeg and an installation by multimedia artist Sharon Lockhart. At Case Western Reserve University, FRONT artistic director Michelle Grabner and the university commissioned Chicago-based artist and sculptor Tony Tasset to create a pavilion for the 34,000-square-foot plaza at the university. The result, Judy’s Hand Pavilion, represents the hand of Tasset’s wife touching down on the earth. “It has this great interplay of masculine and feminine because it is clearly a woman’s hand, but also has these God-like references reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam,” Grabner said. The triennial expands beyond Cleveland into nearby northeast Ohio, including Akron and Oberlin. Oberlin College will also serve as a site for a few important architectural events. Conceptual artist Barbara Bloom will create a new installation in the Robert Venturi–designed wing of the Allen Memorial Art Museum by building architectural elements around the existing artwork. The museum will also feature Chinese artist Cui Jie’s futuristic city paintings that explore utopian/dystopian urban landscapes. To create these fantastical works, Jie combines the stories of Orson Wells with her perspective of Chinese cities, including Chinese propaganda and communist aesthetics. At Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson Usonian House—five minutes away from the museum—painter Juan Araujo will add a new series to the modernist art collection curated by art history professor Ellen Johnson, who lived in the house from 1968 to 1992. "A lot of people have realized that the contemporary art, design, and even architecture worlds are very concentrated in the big coastal cities and hubs, which distorts the market and creates this bubble-effect," Bidwell said. "Cities like New York and L.A. are terrific, but they are very unique and really don't represent the rest of the country. In addition, it can be difficult to do anything new in those cities because of the expense and hassle it takes to put on a biennial or a triennial. In a city like Cleveland, we have seven major arts institutions with international and national exhibitions across multiple venues and over 100 artists to create an expansive, thought-driven, thematically linked art triennial. It is an important time in the history of the U.S. to rediscover the center of the country." To learn more about FRONT Triennial and to stay updated on its programming, check out its website here.
Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Gehry Partners to design Extreme Model Railroad Museum in Massachusetts The firm is replacing Gluckman Tang as architects of the Extreme Model Railroad Museum and Contemporary Architecture Museum in North Adams, Massachusetts. What happened to speculation in architecture? Architects are not really thinking about new ways of living and relating to the world outside of our own history and discourse. What happened? Gorge yourself on Burning Man's annual exhibition of weird and wonderful architecture The Architect's Newspaper takes a look at the best art and architecture at Burning Man. The 2017 edition of the desert gathering kicked off this week.. Thanks to big data, all architects will face a major professional crossroads bigger than CAD or BIM Should we architects cede our authority to algorithms, it’s likely we’ll lose all control and influence over the forces that reduce great design to mediocrity. Irishtown Bend in Cleveland could be in line for a massive transformation Cleveland non-profit LAND studio and CMG Landscape Architects are proposing radical changes to Irishtown Bend in Cleveland, Ohio. Jenny Sabin's selling furniture from her MoMA PS1 installation Well, we lied. There's actually six top news items today, because we just couldn't resist this: Jenny Sabin Studio's "spool stools," the seating for Sabin's MoMA PS1's Warm Up installation, are now available for purchase. Prices start at $150.
In Cleveland, Ohio, plans to regenerate the marshland known as Irishtown Bend have generated dividing opinions. This week, landscape architecture firms LAND studio, a nonprofit from Cleveland and CMG from San Francisco, will unveil a scheme that amalgamates the two visions with the hope of transforming Irishtown Bend into a 17-acre asset to the city. The area lies adjacent to the Cuyahoga River, bridging Ohio City on Cleveland's west side and the city of Cleveland itself, but is currently undeveloped and only used by a homeless community. Speaking to local newspaper The Plain Dealer, Scott Cataffa, principal of CMG, said, "the park needs to be a neighborhood and a regional asset" that operates at two levels. To achieve this, his firm and LAND studio are working with the Port of Cleveland, Ohio City Inc., the City of Cleveland, and engineering firm, Michael Baker International, to incorporate four waterfront areas designated to: a neighborhood park, Ohio City Farm, a history and ecology zone, and the new Maritime Theater—an esplanade area that will include a pavilion and sloped views across the river. Connecting these areas will be an array of zigzagging paths and a reworked part of Franklin Boulevard that would also offer a playground and walkable trails to courts. Pedestrianisation is a priority for the design team who also want to make West 25th Street more people friendly, lining it with trees and calling for a new Rapid Bus line too. Furthermore, the proposed ecology and history area would see boardwalks take pedestrians over excavated building foundations that acknowledging the 19th century Irish immigrant settlers. This zone, along with the neighborhood park will on one side be joined by a 22-foot-high "canopy walk" that takes park goers under a Detroit-Superior Bridge arch to the hillside, a lower portion of the bridge, and residential areas by the West Bank Park. Also around the bridge is to be a climbing wall attached to the 200-year-old railroad abutments and retaining walls Previous plans for a zip line and a "boulder scramble," meanwhile, have been ditched. For now, the plan will be pitched this evening at Saint Ignatius High School in Ohio City. Costing and the allocation of tasks is also currently being worked out by the team and stakeholders including backers such as the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. The primary aim, said Steven Litt of The Plain Dealer, is to "create a vision so compelling that it boosts public support and political energy needed to pay for the new park and for a separate $49 million project that would have to come first to stabilize the hillside." Litt also added that planners have said the homeless community in the area will be informed of any work before it starts and relocated accordingly.