Posts tagged with "public square":

James Corner Field Operations and nARCHITECTS team up to revamp 10-acre park in the heart of Cleveland

Cleveland’s downtown is more welcoming thanks to a civic space replacing a formerly traffic-choked intersection. The Public Square is a recently completed 10-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations (JCFO). The $50-million project also includes a small cafe designed by New York–based nARCHITECTS with local architects Westlake Reed Leskosky. Initiated by nonprofit organization The Group Plan Commission, the Public Square is a major part of larger mission to connect Cleveland’s public spaces to Lake Erie.

The design joins four smaller traffic islands situated between the wide lanes of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street in the heart of the city. As part of making the space more pedestrian friendly, Ontario Street was shut down in that section, and Superior Avenue, which still bifurcates the area, was altered and restricted to public transportation. A butterfly-shaped path encircles the site and is flanked by curving park benches designed by JCFO. Within the paths, small hills produce an outdoor amphitheater and provide a lookout over the surrounding traffic.

The Café Pavilion, the final piece of the square, includes a large kitchen and a modest interior dining space. A 60-foot glass facade looks out onto the Public Square and a large fountain. A curated art wall covers the opposite facade, while triangulated metal panels wrap much of the rest of the exterior. Side windows, impressed into the form of the building, allow for views from the street through the dining area and onto the square. The only other structure in the square is the 125-foot Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument, dedicated to those who fought in the Civil War. Built in 1894, the large monument once occupied one of the quads divided by traffic, but it is now integrated into the corner of the Public Square. 

By adding a more inviting green space into the center of the city, the designers are taking part in an effort to revitalize Cleveland’s downtown. Before the park even opened, programs and events were already planned for the square, including hosting the performance season of the Cleveland Orchestra. A temporary outdoor installation by Milan-based Cracked Art was also commissioned by LAND Studio, the nonprofit landscape and public art agency that managed the project. The National Endowment of the Arts awarded arts organization Cuyahoga Arts and Culture a $50,000 matching grant for additional arts programming for the Public Square.

Like many recently built civic spaces across the country, the public–private partnership behind Public Square raised both the public and private funds for the needed $50 million for the project. Similar projects, such as Chicago’s Millennium Park and Houston’s Discovery Green, though both larger than the Public Square, have been wildly popular, much to the benefit of the surrounding cities. Others point to the success of JCFO’s High Line Park in New York as a good sign that the square will have the positive impact the city anticipates. In any case, Cleveland has a little more public space to enjoy—and a little less traffic to avoid—in its downtown.

This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.

Federal Transit Administration demands Cleveland pay back $12 million

The Federal Transit Administration has sent a letter requesting the repayment of $12 million from the Cleveland RTA. The request comes after bus services were taken off Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland as part of the Public Square redevelopment. The letter states that the RTA is in “breach of a grant agreement” from 2004 and that they have 30 days from December 20th to pay back the $12 million. The FTA had warned the RTA and the City of Cleveland in previous letters that there would be consequences if Superior Avenue did not open to traffic after its renovations were complete. As per the 2004 grant agreement, a "bus rapid transit line along Euclid Avenue would end in Public Square," according to cleveland.com. In a press conference in mid-November, Cleveland’s Mayor Frank Jackson and RTA Manager Joe Calabrese alluded to the square staying closed. The street was originally set to reopen in August but remained closed as the city and the RTA discussed possible options for the street. In the past, the square was been divided into quadrants, with Superior bisecting the park. As part of the park's renovation, Superior was designed as a bus-only street. The city and the RTA have yet to announce whether the street will remain closed permanently, or whether there is a timeline to reopen it. The $50 million overall renovation of the Public Square was recently completed. The 10-acre park was designed by James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) with a small café designed by New York-based nARCHITECTS with local architects Westlake Reed Leskosky. The new park is being seen as a boon for the revitalization of the downtown, and a major step in connecting the city’s public spaces to Lake Erie.

Cleveland Public Square reopens after major renovation by James Corner Field Operations

After several years of planning and 15 months of renovation, Cleveland Public Square reopened to the public last Thursday. The dramatic $50 million restoration of the 6-acre park offers a variety of opportunities for public programming and activities; it has even helped prompt a series of residential and commercial construction projects in the city’s center. James Corner Field Operations has completely transformed the park: Ontario Street is now permanently closed between South Roadway and Rockwell Avenue; Superior Avenue is used exclusively for transit; corners of intersections and formerly paved areas have been converted to green lawn. The design also includes a fountain in the park’s center which will serve as an ice rink in the winter, a wide range of vegetation, and extensive walkways. LANDStudio and the Group Plan Commission, two civic groups, oversaw the project’s financing and construction. The extensive restoration consisted of the reconstruction of water, electrical, and communication infrastructure below ground and above ground construction that converted the roadways into a pedestrian corridor. The opening comes just before the Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland.