An artistic selection committee Thursday selected three semi-finalists for the Ohio Statehouse Holocaust Memorial in Columbus. Jaume Plensa of Chicago, Columbus’ Ann Hamilton, and Daniel Libeskind will visit the site, meet with the committee and then have six weeks to submit a proposal for review. The committee will pick the final project artist in May. Libeskind designed Berlin’s Jewish Museum, one of the most prominent memorials of its kind. Ann Hamilton has home-turf advantage, so to speak, and is coming off a spectacularly reviewed show at the Armory, The Event of a Thread. Spanish-born Jaume Plensa's evocative sculptures are pensive and humanistic, often involving glowing lights, and seem well suited to such a project.
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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.
As part of an ongoing relationship with the North College Hill school district in Cincinnati, fellow Cincinnatians SFA Architects helped the district consolidate its many facilities into the space of one city block. The combined Middle-High School building, completed in 2010, last week received LEED Platinum certification, making it the third public education facility in Ohio to earn the green building ranking system’s top honor. Completed within budget, the 198,000-square foot project achieved much of its energy savings by employing efficient HVAC equipment and extensive daylighting. Solar panels on the property will produce about five percent of the facility’s energy, with real-time solar power generation data available online. Ohio’s first LEED Platinum school, the London Middle School, designed by SHP Leading Design, was certified in April. That project reduced energy use 42 percent and water usage 40 percent. It also added a 71.2-kilowatt solar array that generates about 15 percent of the school’s yearly needs. Taft Information Technology High School in Cincinnati is also LEED Platinum.
Dear readers, Eavesdrop had the opportunity to explore Louisville, KY—our hometown—and Cincinnati, OH (a.k.a. Porkopolis) over the weekend. It’s been six or seven years since our last trip to Cincy and we have a couple things to say about it. It’s kind of a real city, like dense and old, with just enough corporate headquarters looming over the skyline. We finally got to see the HOK designed Great American Tower in real life and it’s just as bad in person as its renderings. You may remember that we thoroughly made fun of its fugly, Princess Di inspired, steel tiara—something about lipstick on a pig. Let’s update that to a more current comparison. That tiara is more Honey Boo Boo than Princess Di. Eavesdrop is not a fan of hats or tiaras on buildings—i.e. the Pappageorge Haymes-designed One Museum Park in Chicago with its sailor cap. The American Institute of Steel Construction disagrees, recently giving said tiara a design award. Cincy’s little sibling across the river, Covington, KY, has its own shiny shocker: Daniel Libeskind’s Ascent at Roebling Bridge, which is essentially a nautilus that mated with a Vegas hotel that was birthed onto the banks of the Ohio. And–just announced!–Covington is so hip that they’re turning their 102-year old City Hall into a boutique hotel. Despite a few eyesores, things in downtown Cincy are definitely looking up. The Over-the-Rhine neighborhood was shockingly vibrant in a way that should make Louisville’s NULU district extremely jealous. Louisville could use its own version of 3CDC, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, whose name adorned many banners and reconstruction projects. In Louisville there was nary a person walking the streets of East Market, NULU’s main drag. Cincy, please send some of that development juice downstream!
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.
Seven years after the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation embarked on its resuscitation of downtown’s signature Fountain Square, a vacant 86-year-old tower one block away is getting a $27.3 million makeover. The former home of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the 14-story building will now house 12,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 238-room hotel. Once slated for condos, the limestone tower will instead be downtown’s fifth largest hotel, bringing the total number of rooms downtown to more than 3,000. Cincinnati’s finance committee approved $7 million in tax abatements over 12 years for the project. SREE Hotels will invest in the construction—its first in the Midwest—but may find another hotel chain to operate the business. The investment is part of a growing wave of renewal throughout Cincinnati’s urban core, driven by private interests, municipal support, and a resurgent interest in downtowns throughout the Midwest.
Ohio City, Cleveland’s self-described artisan neighborhood, also hopes to become one of the city’s transportation hubs. A new plan proposes “a 21st Century transportation strategy” for the mixed-use area, which is home to popular destinations like the West Side Market and the Great Lakes Brewing Company. The plan heavily features transit-oriented development. With 5 million bus riders travelling through each year, Ohio City is the region’s second-largest transit hub (downtown’s Public Square is first). They’re calling for a TOD plan that addresses all land within a quarter-mile of the existing rapid transit station. Reforming parking is at the heart of the plan. According to Ohio City Incorporated, the neighborhood added 35 business in the last three years and draws in more than 3 million visitors annually. Existing lots are overflowing and the community has staunchly opposed demolition in the historic neighborhood. Instead they could begin charging for parking longer than 90 minutes in two large lots at Lutheran Hospital and St. Ignatius High School. Revenue from that plan would help pay for infrastructure projects. How the transportation strategy will actually impact growth in one of Northeast Ohio’s most vibrant neighborhoods is still unknown. But The Plain Dealer's Editorial Board called it “a thoughtful plan that can easily be adapted as revitalization continues.”
Urban Archaeology. Our friends at Rustwire show us that there can be a kind of mournful beauty in industrial decay, as seen in a photo essay of defunct Ohio steel mills by Paul Grilli. The amazing images are part of a series by the Youngstown-based photographer, who is working to document every steel mill in the area. Hot Chile. Inhabitat tells us that, aside from the Fenix capsule used to rescue trapped miners in October 2010, Chile can now boast of another design innovation that will benefit mine workers. In an effort to shield them from the relentless heat and sun of the Atacama Desert region, AATA Architects has come up with a motel-like residence made of shipping containers. And that's not even the coolest part - they plan to cover the entire complex with a huge canvas roof to protect the men from the harsh environment. Who's the Boss? Design Observer ponders who architects are really working for. The potential for tension between designers, financiers and sometimes communities is nothing new. But adding a tyrannical dictator to the equation makes the question all the more compelling, especially when that dictatorial regime might misuse the involvement of a name-brand starchitect to purchase a "commodity of cultural acumen." Suburban Poor. Poverty isn't just an inner-city problem. Planetizen brings news that the suburban city of Mississauga, Ontario is trying to come up with ways to best reach those populations that it deems underserved. Borrowing an idea from nearby Toronto, they want to identify 'priority neighborhoods' that are in need of access to services.
It’s hard to imagine turning down $1.2 billion. That is, unless you’re the governors-elect of Wisconsin and Ohio. The New York Times reported today that those two states officially withdrew claim to their shares of federal stimulus money awarded for construction of new rail corridors, citing concerns over subsidies needed to run the trains. Instead the money will be redirected to 13 other states. Ironically, both Wisconsin and Ohio had lobbied aggressively for big hunks of the $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail development in Obama’s stimulus package. Things changed when Republicans won both governorships, partly on the platform of denying the stimulus awards. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Wisconsin would have received $810 million for a brand new rail corridor between Milwaukee and Madison and Ohio $385 for the new “3C” corridor between Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. While neither project was intended to be high-speed, they were viewed as significant steps towards creating an efficient rail-network across the country, with the eventual goal of upgrading to high-speed. As an added bonus the projects would have generated thousands of jobs in an economic downturn. Initially, the new Republican Governors tried to redirect the money toward road projects, a move DOT rejected. Luckily for the rest of the country, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the money would be redistributed for rail projects 13 other states. California and Florida will be the biggest winners with $624 million and $342 million respectively. Illionis will get $42.3 million. You can see the official breakdown at the DOT website.