Cleveland last year unveiled a plan to revamp Public Square—a space that, as its name suggests, is meant to serve as a civic space for the city’s downtown. Now an $8 million grant could make that ambitious project shovel-ready by the end of this year. The Cleveland Foundation announced its donation Tuesday, gifting $7 million outright and withholding $1 million until Cleveland’s Group Plan Commission can raise an additional $7 million from nongovernmental sources by Halloween. That would bring the total amount raised to $15 million, or half of the $30 million needed. The design, courtesy of New York’s James Corner Field Operations and locally-based LAND Studio, knits four fragmented quadrants of public space together into one 10-acre park with spaces for art, ice-skating, and picnicking. That would require the city to close a two-block stretch of Ontario Street, and restrict a section of Superior Avenue to bus traffic only. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Steven Litt reported, the foundation formally announced the gift by a bronze statue of Moses Cleaveland, the city’s founder, who planned the downtown area with Public Square at its center in 1796. If enough money comes through in time to break ground later this year, the goal is to complete work by the spring of 2016, ahead of the Republican National Committee convention in Cleveland that summer.
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June brought good weather to Cleveland, and those who rang in summer with a visit to the Cleveland Public Library encountered an airy installation of white frames and threads crisscrossing the Eastman Reading Garden. It’s not the first piece of public art to active the space outside the Cleveland Public Library. Last year a giant reading nest designed by LAND Studio and New York artist Mark Reigelman took wing in the library’s Eastman Reading Garden. This year’s piece, by X. studio founder Ivan Juarez, is the fifth installation in the library’s “See Also” public art program, which is organized with help from local designers LAND Studio. The program is funded through an endowment established by Lockwood Thompson, a former library trustee and art collector. Juarez will use almost 15,000 feet of rope before the piece comes down at the end of October. Dubbed Drawing Lines, the installation aims to help visitors “discover new spaces, shadows and frames” in the garden, per a press release from the Cleveland Public Library:
“A continuous thread will move across new and existing elements in the garden to filter the natural light and create new passages and spaces to gather and reflect. At the same time, the installation’s architecture is being broken apart. Its walls are transparent.”LAND Studio is also engaged in a makeover of Cleveland's downtown Public Square and a rails-to-trails project along Cleveland's old RTA Red Line.
The Cleveland neighborhoods of Kinsman, Duck Island, and West 65th Street could eventually get major updates now that three new plans have won unanimous approval from the city’s planning commission. All three neighborhoods were built when Cleveland’s industrial heyday propelled a boom of real estate development that has long since given way to depopulation. In Kinsman, on the city’s far East Side, the plan proposed creating an arts and entertainment district. The Duck Island plan focused on multi-modal transportation hubs, and the plan focusing on the West 65th Street neighborhood called for a two-mile multi-purpose trail. Funding for most of the work is still undetermined, but the city has committed some money for bike lanes, curb extensions, and other local improvements already called for in the three plans.
A digitally-designed medical products showroom plays well with its City Beautiful neighbors.The Global Center for Health Innovation, designed by LMN Architects along with the attached Cleveland Convention Center, is more than a showroom for medical products and services. Located adjacent to the Burnham Malls, the open space at the heart of Daniel Burnham’s Group Plan of 1903, the building is part of Cleveland’s civic core. “One of the things about the Global Center is that it has a unique expression and in particular the facade treatment,” said design partner Mark Reddington. “But it’s also a really integrated piece of a bigger idea and a bigger composition.” A dynamic combination of textured concrete panels and irregular slashes of glazing, the Global Center’s facade, which won honorable mention in AN’s 2014 Best of Design Awards, deftly negotiates the gap between the building’s historic context and its function as a high-tech marketplace. The Global Center’s City Beautiful surrounds influenced its facade design in several ways. “Part of the trick for us in looking at the Global Center,” said project architect Stephen Van Dyck, “was to try and make a building that was contemporary and relevant, but also a building that referred and deferred to its context materially and compositionally.” As a reflection on the solidity of the older structures ringing the Malls, the architects minimized glazing in the east face’s concrete system. In addition, they chose the color and aggregates of the concrete to mimic the tone of limestone. The texturing on the concrete panels, too, was informed by the Global Center’s context. “Like the classical buildings, there’s a lot of detail that shows up in different lighting conditions,” said Reddington. At the same time, the Global Center is very much a product of the 21st century. “There was an explicit intention in creating a facade whose qualities would not have been achievable without digital technology,” said Van Dyck. “It doesn’t look like it was handcrafted. It was primarily an exercise in allowing the technical means of creation and design to live forever on the outside of this building.” In particular, he said, the architects were interested in how their chosen material—precast concrete—allowed them to move beyond a punched-window system to a more complicated relationship between solids and voids. The result eventually became a scientific metaphor, as the designers observed the resemblance of the pattern to the twisting helices of a DNA molecule. LMN developed the facade design on a remarkably short timeline: about four months from concept to shop drawings. “The schedule requirements of the whole thing were absurd,” said Van Dyck. To make modifying the design as easy as possible, the architects developed a utility called Cricket to link Grasshopper and Revit. The ability to update the BIM model in real time convinced the design-build team to take risks despite the compressed timeframe. “Once they realized there was a strong mastery of the data, an ability to listen and incorporate the needs of [multiple] parties, that was really the breakthrough,” explained Van Dyck. “They said, ‘Hey, we can build something that’s a little unconventional.’” Besides their Cricket plug-in, a 3D printer was LMN’s most valuable tool during the design process. To explore how the panels’ texturing would animate the facade under different lighting conditions, they created plaster models from 3D-printed casts. “We had to do that because the geometry was so complex that we didn’t have any computers at the time that were capable of [modeling it],” said Van Dyck. “For us, working between the physical, digital, hand-drawn renderings were all so critical in discovering what we ultimately ended up building.” Sidley Precast Group fabricated the concrete panels with a surface pattern of horizontal joints that vary in depth and height. To minimize cost, the fabricators made almost all of the molds from a single 8-by-10-foot master formliner, with horizontal ribs spaced every 6 inches acting as dams for the smaller molds. While LMN Architects originally wanted to limit the number of panel types to eight, the final count was around 50, including larger pieces made by connecting smaller panels vertically. The approximately 400 precast panels were moved by crane to a system of vertical steel tubes running from slab to slab, then welded into place. The Viracon glazing was welded to the same tubes, a couple of inches back from the face of the concrete. The large atrium window on the building’s east face was manufactured by NUPRESS Group. For the architects, the significance of the Global Center’s facade remains tied to its broader context. Its design, while driven by modern technology, achieves a surprising degree of harmony with its surroundings. “Our building is in a way very classical, though it wasn’t an explicit intention of ours,” said Van Dyck. “To create a language that was both universal and also something that was really new—from our perspective that was a big achievement of the project.”
Cleveland’s conflicting development pressures came to a head last week over one avenue on the city’s West Side, and whether its future holds car-oriented businesses like McDonald’s or lanes for public transit and bike paths. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt reported on developers’ plans to suburbanize the area around Lorain Avenue at Fulton Road: “Residents hate the idea with a passion,” he wrote. Much of Cleveland was designed when its population was far greater than it is today. Though on the rebound, the city has far different needs than it did in decades prior. That’s the thinking behind the Ohio City Inc. community development corporation’s new plan, which calls for a $17.3 million overhaul of the avenue from West 25th to West 85th streets. The route would include a 2.3-mile, bicycle track along the north side of the street—the city’s first separated, two-way paths for bikes. Proponents of the plan and those who’d prefer automobile-oriented development could have it out at an upcoming community meeting in January in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood (time and place to be announced). The City Planning Commission could pick it up from there. Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, and recently reexamined transportation policies to build on the increasingly urban character of this self-described artisan neighborhood.
The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is striking back against a wide-ranging problem that has scarred few regions more than this corner of the Midwest: sprawl. The non-profit is a collaboration between city, county, and regional government entities, as well as private foundations and academic institutions. It is funded by a $4.25 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with $2.4 million in local matching funds. As part of its final push in a three-year effort to chart a sustainable future for Northeast Ohio, the voluntary group has convened a series of public forums to persuade roughly 400 municipal entities in the 12-county area to reverse course before business-as-usual development trends further burdens the regional economy. New infrastructure to accommodate more suburban development would leave the region as a whole with a 33.7 percent gap between revenues and expenses, the Consortium estimates, if people continue to move away. If population loss is less severe, that gap could shrink to only 6.4 percent, but in that case local developers would need to sacrifice nearly 50,000 acres for suburban development. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on the Consortium’s third way: A third scenario, labeled “Do Things Differently,” assumes that the region consumes only 4,100 acres of land through additional suburban development, but builds 2.5 times the amount of new urban housing than under the “Trend” or “Business as Usual” scenario. “Do Things Differently” also assumes that 20 percent more jobs would be located near transit than if current trends are allowed to continue. The result: a 10.4 percent surplus in local government budgets. Cleveland has made a push for high-density development and urban renewal, including recent developments around Cuyahoga County’s new $465 million convention center. But as Northeast Ohio attempts to escape its past, regional initiatives could play an increasingly important role.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] “The Red Line” could be Cleveland’s answer to New York's High Line or Chicago's Bloomingdale Trail, rails-to-trails projects that have captured the imaginations of their respective cities as an answer to questions surrounding transportation, aging infrastructure and urban placemaking. The Rotary Club of Cleveland is pushing the idea of a three-mile greenway connecting five city neighborhoods to downtown. That would make the old RTA Red Line trail longer than both the High Line and the Bloomingdale Trail. The Rotary Club initiated a cleanup and rehabilitation of the ravine next to the Red Line more than 30 years ago. That project became an urban gardening project called ParkWorks, and eventually spawned LAND Studio. Studies of that “Rapid Recovery” project estimated finishing the greenway would cost between $5.1 million and $5.5 million. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter]
If you drop by the Cleveland Public Library to get lost in a book, you may find reprieve from modern life outside the library’s walls, thanks to a giant reading nest custom designed by New York artist Mark Reigelman and LAND Studio. The installation is the fourth in a series, called "See Also," which brings public art to the library's Eastman Reading Garden. It will be in place through October 18. The whirlwind of 10,000 palette boards and two-by-fours comprise a roost 13 feet tall and 36 feet across, reinforced with steel cable. Made from reclaimed wood from industrial sites in the Cleveland area, the nest creates an intimate, sheltered environment for reading or for staring at the perfectly framed sky.
Kate Gilmore: Body of Work MOCA Cleveland 11400 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH Through June 9 Through performance-based art, Kate Gilmore presents her body battling through strenuous physical absurdities while wearing whimsical feminine outfits, like fitted dresses and high heels. Her clothing makes the chaotic and messy actions all the more uncomfortable and comical. Gilmore’s performances reexamine the feminist performance art that became popular in the 1970s. By injecting humor into her work alongside visible awkwardness and distress, she explores the female identity while breaking down accepted masculine art practices found in modernist history. Her aggressive movements against feminine tones make the performance visually interesting. For her first solo show, the artist will display ten years of video works. The exhibition will also feature a recently commissioned performance in the form of a sculpture and video.
Cleveland was the only U.S. city to earn a “Silver Standard” ranking from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) in its second annual bus rapid transit corridor rankings. Cleveland’s HealthLine, formerly The Euclid Corridor, is a 9.2 mile transit corridor connecting Downtown, University Circle, and East Cleveland with 40 stops along the way. Hybrid articulated buses ferry passengers 24-7, and have brought billions of dollars of investment to the city’s key economic centers. Guangzhou, China topped the “Gold Standard” list, with Latin American cities (Bogotá, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Guadalajara, and Medellin) monopolizing the rest of those rankings. Some North American cities made the “Bronze Standard” list: Los Angeles; Eugene, OR; Pittsburgh; Las Vegas; and Ottawa.
The annual Cleveland Design Competition, organized by architects Micahel Christoff and Bradley Fink, called on designers to imagine a revitalized Detroit-Superior Bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River. The jury unanimously awarded first prize to two submissions that highlighted the bridge as a catalyst for urban reinvigoration. “Transforming The Bridge” asked competitors to redesign the abandoned lower deck of the bridge, also known as Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects downtown Cleveland with its industrial Flats neighborhood and west side. “Bridgewalk” from New York’s Archilier Architecture (represented by Kai Sheng, Donghwan Moon, Changoso Park and Tinxing Tao) divided the bridge, which they called “vital connective tissue,” into three strata—skywalk, bridgewalk, and riverwalk—and five zones linked to the planned Cuyahoga Towpath Trail. From the project description:
“A continuous pedestrian pathway, beginning at the river’s edge, climbs through the bridge structure emerging at the crest of the arch to enjoy spectacular views of downtown Cleveland and Lake Superior [sic].”Austin’s Ashley Craig, Edna Ledesma and Jessica Zarowitz celebrated the public space another way. “SuperiorPoint-scape” would reinvent the bridge as a destination for education and physical activity. Their interventions are intentionally minimal, according to the submission description, but emphasize water systems from the Cuyahoga River below to added elements along the bridge’s lower deck itself.
If you read this column, you know Eaves loves a party. You also know we self-deprecatingly speak of mediocre Midwestern cities (we’re from Louisville). Even with summer winding down, there’s no need to stick out that lower lip. A slew of—well, ok, three–high profile openings will tickle even the slightest art and architecture enthusiast as Cleveland, East Lansing, and Cincinnati compete for the title of Bilbao of the Midwest. First up, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture, opens on October 6. Will the Mistake-on-the-Lake become the Rust Belt Riviera? On MOCA’s heels comes the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum on November 9. OK, we don’t know anything about East Lansing other than a school’s there, but—hey!—now they have a Zaha Hadid. And finally, Cincinnati, home to America’s first Hadid, will welcome 21c Museum Hotel by Deborah Berke & Partners. Their website says it will open late 2012. Which project will be an urban game-changer? We could be swayed by opening night invites, but right now my money’s on Cincy.