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The former Cuyahoga County Administration Building in downtown Cleveland has been razed. A 600-room convention center hotel will be built on the site, and the new County headquarters building at the former Ameritrust complex is scheduled to open in July. County offices formerly in the building relocated to temporary locations last fall. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt has written extensively about the plans for the new 30-story hotel (PDF).

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced that they would work together to implement plans for downtown Cleveland development. The $350 million investment includes a 600-to-700-room hotel on the site of the County Administration Building at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street. The $260 million hotel would be attached to the new convention center. The action plan also includes implementation of plans for Public Square and the Malls, plus the construction of a lakefront connector bridge and a parking garage.

Seventeen architecture firms responded to Cuyahoga County's request for qualifications, and a committee recommended that Cooper Carry of Atlanta should design the hotel. Representatives of the firm were in Cleveland on August 8, where they gathered input from residents at a public forum.

Steven Litt said that "Cleveland finally seems to be getting the message" about the importance of vital public spaces, and said that the City should establish a set of urban design guidelines to preserve and enhance downtown views. He also said that the hotel represents "one of the most important design challenges in Cleveland in many years." In Crain's Cleveland Business, Jay Miller said that the partnership's success "will depend on continuing cooperation between city and county government," Stan Bullard compiled reactions from hotel operators, and Brian Tucker said that the new hotel must be more than "another lifeless rectangular box in our skyline." A Plain Dealer editorial praised the plans, while Roldo Bartimole denounced them.

A $175,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation enabled the the Cleveland 2030 District to hire architect Jon Reidy as its executive director (PDF). He's working to increase membership of the green building organization.

Work on the new Cuyahoga County headquarters building in downtown Cleveland began in early April with the start of demolition of the former P&H buildings at East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. Demolition is scheduled to be finished by late June and the new building is slated to open by July 2014. The project's architect is striving for a subdued modernist design. The project is supported by $75.5 million in bonds from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Two sites in University Circle have the potential to attract luxury residential towers. An unidentified developer is exploring the feasibility of a 28-story, 300-unit tower at Euclid Avenue and Stokes Boulevard. In addition, the Cleveland Institute of Art's Gund Building site could be redeveloped as high-rise residential, although no plans have been presented. Charles Belson, the president of AIA Cleveland, dislikes the idea, saying that it "could be a big step in the wrong direction."

Leaders of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History unveiled plans for a major expansion and renovation of the University Circle museum. The plans call for demolishing a portion of the museum and adding two new wings, a new lobby, and a parking garage. It presents an opportunity for the museum to demonstrate advanced building techniques. The museum also launched a capital campaign with a goal of raising $125 million over five to seven years. Earlier expansion plans were halted due to the recession. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the museum's plans "promise to renew its status as one of the region's premier cultural attractions".

MOCA Cleveland celebrated the grand opening of its new University Circle museum in early October. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt covered the occasion, describing the history of the museum, the project's financial considerations, architect Farshid Moussavi's design approach, and the building's distinctive architecture. MOCA Executive Director Jill Snyder said that the building realizes the museum's goals of transparency, flexibility, and sustainability. A Plain Dealer editorial cheered the opening.

The milestone also attracted national and international attention. It was Farshid Moussavi's first project in the U.S., and she was profiled in W magazine and interviewed by the Architects' Journal. The museum's architecture was highlighted in Art in America, Arch Daily, De Zeen, Wallpaper, and Unbeige, among other publications.

Update: Steven Litt followed up with a critique of the building.

In a feature titled "New Life For the American City", Architectural Record examined how Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are reinventing themselves. Its exploration of Cleveland included an overview by Steven Litt and closer looks at the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion and the Uptown development. Meanwhile, The Atlantic Cities published a piece on the evolution of University Circle and a response from Rust Belt Chic editors Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubek. They identified a lack of nuance in reporting about the region, and said that "urban journalism needs to allow for more ambiguity."

After reaching a compromise with City officials and historic preservationists, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved Cleveland State University's plans to demolish the Wolfe Music Building and Viking Hall. The mitigation agreement calls for the University to salvage elements of the Wolfe Music Building and establish a historic preservation certificate program. CSU and NEOMED plan to build the $45 million Center for Innovation in Health Professions on the site, and three competing architecture firms recently presented concepts for the new building. Steven Litt said that the institutions' design process is not likely to lead to an iconic structure.

The recently-launched Cleveland 2030 District aims to create a high-performance building district in downtown Cleveland. The project's organizers set goals for reducing energy usage, water usage, and carbon emissions in new and existing buildings and infrastructure.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that the buildings in the first phase of University Circle's Uptown development "are crisp, lean and decidedly contemporary, yet they also contributing powerfully to the larger urban environment" and that the project "is one of the most exciting and sophisticated architectural ensembles in the history of Cleveland."

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that the new Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland building under construction in University Circle is "shaping up as an architectural thrill ride" and "represents a triumphant return to the neighborhood of MOCA's birth."

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt contrasted the designs of two new hospital buildings in Cleveland, the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals and the CARES Tower at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Both structures were designed by George Nikolajevich of Cannon Design in St. Louis.

Case Western Reserve University revealed the designs for its planned 82,000-square-foot Tinkham Veale University Center. The University intends to break ground next spring and complete construction by fall 2014.

Images of the winning entries in this year's Cleveland Design Competition are now online. More selections are posted at Facebook.

The Lakewood Architectural Board of Review approved designs for a McDonald's restaurant on the site of the closed Detroit Theater. The City's Planning Commission may discuss the plans in October.

Update: Lakewood Patch has more information.

The 92 participants in this year's Cleveland Design Competition offered concepts for a future home for the Campus International School near Cleveland State University. The winners were revealed at an event on August 19. Images of the submissions will be displayed at the Ingenuity Festival and at the Colonial Marketplace Arcade, and will be posted online in October. Steven Litt said that the "takeaway from this year's entries is that the competition didn't elicit a single, powerful solution capable of rallying a strong push to get it built."

At a special joint meeting of the Cleveland City Planning Commission, Landmarks Commission, and Downtown Design Review Committee on Friday, members voted to approve plans for a casino welcome center and parking garage. The designs include a diagonal skywalk across the intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue. Steven Litt remained critical of the process, and said that "it was another confirmation of how Cleveland differs from cities that insist on better planning and urban design."

Steven Litt considered local design trends over the past 10 years, and said that "the new mood of openness in architecture and planning in Cleveland is a product of regional characteristics and national trends in architecture and urban development that have been evolving for decades."

The State of Ohio and Rock Ohio Caesars reached an agreement covering taxes and fees for the casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Rock Ohio Caesars will pay an additional $110 million in fees over the next 10 years, and the state agreed to drop its proposal to apply the Commercial Activity Tax against total betting. The agreement (PDF) also says that the phase one and phase two casinos in Cleveland will be considered one casino, and authorizes slot machines at racetracks. Construction is expected to resume soon.

A Plain Dealer editorial said the agreement "appears to be a true win-win for Ohioans", while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said it "must be seen as a limited victory over gambling interests." An anti-gambling group said that it will challenge the deal in court. Steven Litt reflected on the recent Cleveland Landmarks Commission decision, and said that Rock Gaming needs to improve its casino planning efforts.

The City of Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission reviewed and approved the latest designs for the Medical Mart and new convention center. They include concepts for incorporating the current site of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building into future phases. Marc Lefkowitz has concerns about the plans for Malls B and C.

Architect Miguel Rosales is continuing to refine designs for three pedestrian bridges in Cleveland. The City of Cleveland plans to begin construction of a bridge at North Coast Harbor next summer, Cuyahoga County officials started evaluating three options for a bridge to Whiskey Island, and Case Western Reserve University made public a proposal for a bridge that would link the Cleveland Museum of Art to the Temple Tifereth Israel.

At its meeting on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for a casino parking garage and welcome center. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on Thursday. Steven Litt was disappointed by the plans, calling them "the kind of actions that can erode a city's visual integrity and sense of place."

Participants in the 2011 Cleveland Design Competition will offer concepts for a new K-12 public school on a site north of Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland. Organizers expect to receive at least 100 entries from around the world.

Case Western Reserve University selected the firm of Perkins+Will to design the Tinkham Veale University Center. The architecture firm was one of four finalists for the proposed $50 million student center. Preliminary designs should be ready by the end of July.

Case Western Reserve University Architect and Planner Margaret Carney is leaving the school for a position at Temple University in Philadelphia. Steven Litt examined her contributions in Cleveland.

Update: Sabrina Herman of CWRU's Observer interviewed Margaret Carney.

As University Hospitals opens its new $298 million Ahuja Medical Center in the Chagrin Highlands, the Plain Dealer looked at the hospital's evidence-based design features, usage of new technologies, and its attention to wellness and green building. The 53-acre campus features 144 patient rooms, and has space for two additional towers that could bring the total to 600 rooms. Steven Litt contrasted the hospital's advanced design and construction techniques with its automobile-oriented location in suburban Beachwood.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will soon begin searching for a designer for the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. ODOT officials say that the second bridge, which will replace the existing span, will appear similar but not identical to the first new bridge.

The General Services Administration unveiled the design of the new facade for the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland. The new aluminum and glass skin, designed by architect Charles Young of Interactive Design Eight Architects in Chicago, is expected to reduce the building's annual energy costs by 17%. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the "project could be a bellwether for skylines across the country, especially for skyscrapers that fall somewhere below the level of landmarks worthy of preservation in pristine condition." Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune said that the "building stands to be transformed from a muscle-bound but middling work of mid-20th Century modernism into something delicate, diaphanous and endearing to the passerby."

Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee approved the latest plans for the Medical Mart. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the designs need more refinement.

Update: committee members want more information about the Mall designs before approving that portion of the plans.

Update 2: the Cleveland City Planning Commission also approved the Medical Mart and convention center plans, but not the plans for the Mall.

The General Services Administration plans to replace the roof of the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland and to wrap the entire building with a new glass facade. Steven Litt described the work as "a fascinating case in which government is trying to balance two positive goals: historic preservation and energy conservation." The $121 million project is being funded by the federal stimulus program.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved lighting, colors, surface textures, and other aesthetic details for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. The presentation is available online (PDF). Last month Steven Litt called it "a depressing coda to a 10-year design process in which ODOT wasted numerous opportunities, ran down the clock and ended up with a mediocre concept for a bridge".

Update: ODOT issued a press release.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County closed on the sale of the City's convention center, and the County will begin construction of the new convention center and Medical Mart next month. City officials are examining their options for Public Auditorium, which will be separated from the convention center.

Update: construction began on January 3, 2011.

The Plain Dealer's Joe Frolik reflected on the past year, and thinks that "in 10 years, we will look back on 2010 as the year that Cleveland turned the corner and began to regain its status as a vibrant American city." Steven Litt described the year's architecture highlights, while GreenCityBlueLake summarized the major sustainability stories, and the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition listed the top bicycling news.

A video prepared for Rock Ventures shows preliminary massings and site plans for the downtown Cleveland casino. It was shared at a recent meeting about the proposal to narrow the Cuyahoga River for the casino and was not intended for public release, which Steven Litt says raises "questions about whether Rock Ventures should be more transparent in the early stages of its thinking about the casino."

Cleveland's Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee approved the design for the planned Courtyard by Marriott hotel in University Circle, but members said that design needs more work.

The Architect's Newspaper looked at Miguel Rosales' proposed designs for pedestrian bridges in Cleveland at North Coast Harbor, Whiskey Island, and Case Western Reserve University.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt reviewed the two newest buildings at Cleveland State University, the Student Center and Julka Hall (the College of Education and Human Services building). He said that "both are well-designed; both make strong connections between their interiors and the surrounding city; both are flooded with daylight; and both do a lot to improve the appearance of Euclid Avenue."

LMN Architects released the latest design concept for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. The renderings show a concrete and glass building at the corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue. Members of the Cleveland Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission were generally positive about the designs, and granted them conceptual approval. LMN and landscape architects Gustafston Guthrie Nichol continue to prepare designs for Malls B and C, and want to create a space that can be enjoyed in all seasons.

"Designing a Better Cleveland" is a new booklet written by Steven Litt and published by the Cleveland Public Library and Cleveland Public Art. An outgrowth of last year's Lockwood Thompson Dialogues, it's meant to be "a call to action and a mini-primer on the ways in which citizens, developers, planners and designers can raise standards of civic design in Cleveland." Electronic copies (PDF) are available online, and paper copies can be obtained from Cleveland Public Art.

Architect Chuck Miller of Doty & Miller makes suggestions for ways that environmentalists and historic preservationists can successfully work together instead of talking past each other.

AIA Ohio's 2010 awards included a merit award to Robert Maschke Architects for the bus shelters at the Gordon Arts District in Cleveland. Dru McKeown was dismayed by the declaration, and said that while the structures are handsome, they fail to function as shelters.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve the revised plans for the new convention center in downtown Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI officials altered the layout and size of the planned Medical Mart and convention center in downtown Cleveland. The changes increased estimated construction costs by $40 million to $465 million. MMPI will pay $8.5 million of the added expense, with the County covering the remainder from a previously-undisclosed $50 million contingency fund. Commissioner Jones said, "We have to spend this additional money so we have a top-quality facility," and a Plain Dealer editorial said the "bump up in projected costs should not become an excuse to derail or abandon the project." The planned late-October groundbreaking remains unchanged.

Update: Jeff Appelbaum's presentation to the Commissioners (PDF) is available online.

Structural limitations of the planned Cleveland convention center under Malls B and C may preclude the installation of heavy items above the facility, such as large sculptures or fountains. The new Group Plan Commission is scheduled to submit its suggestions by late December or early January, and will meet next on October 7.

Architect Miguel Rosales may design two pedestrian bridges in Cleveland, in addition to the planned bridge at North Coast Harbor. Cuyahoga County is negotiating with Rosales to design a bridge to Whiskey Island, and he is working with Case Western Reserve University to study possibilities for a bridge to its future West Campus.

Cleveland State University's new Student Center is complete, and the university will celebrate its grand opening on Wednesday. The 138,000-square-foot building on Euclid Avenue was designed by the late Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.

Update: Channel 8 looked at the changes to CSU's campus.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission today approved preliminary plans for the new downtown Cleveland convention center under Malls B and C. Members have not voted on plans for the adjoining Medical Mart.

Urban design in Cleveland was the subject of Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN. The guests, including CPC director Paul Alsenas, discussed plans for the Innerbelt Bridge, MOCA's new building, and the new convention center.

Update: panelists on Channel 3's Between the Lines also discussed the Innerbelt Bridge and convention center plans.

In the latest vision for the new Cleveland convention center, Mall B would become a grassy slope above the convention space. The plans developed by LMN Architects call for a gradual slope, starting at St. Clair Avenue and culminating in a 27-foot-high viewing platform at Lakeside Avenue. Cuyahoga County's Jeff Appelbaum said (PDF) that the project is on schedule and on budget, and Steven Litt said that the concept shows great promise. Cleveland's Design Review Committee approved the designs, but the Cleveland City Planning Commission postponed its scheduled vote.

Last Thursday, MOCA unveiled Farshid Moussavi's designs for the museum's planned University Circle building, and on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved them. The abstract building's six facets will be clad in black stainless steel and glass. MOCA hopes to break ground by late fall on the $26 million project at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "the new building will allow MOCA to burst out of its shell."

The board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland unanimously voted to proceed with construction of a new building in University Circle. A December groundbreaking is planned, and architect Farshid Moussavi's designs for the museum will be unveiled on Thursday. The Gund Foundation recently contributed $2.5 million in grants and loans to the project.

Kent State University named Douglas Steidl as the dean of its College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and Terry Schwarz as director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. She had been serving as its interim director since last fall.

LMN Architects' latest designs for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland call for a glassy four-story building at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street. It will be connected to the planned new L-shaped convention center.

The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown examined the planned renovations and additions to the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. The Cleveland Play House and Cleveland State University plan to convert the former movie palace to eight smaller theaters with work beginning in September and finishing in fall 2011.

Update: Tony Brown addressed several concerns about the plans.

Dan Gilbert would like to build the downtown Cleveland casino in two phases. The first phase, which would open next year, would occupy the first floors of the Higbee Building on Public Square. The second phase would include the construction of a contemporary building along Huron Road near Tower City. It would be finished in mid-2013. The plan to build in phases needs approval from state legislators.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI hired Seattle landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland. They also named 10 local companies to the design team, plus Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks. The firms join LMN Architects, the conceptual architects.

Steven Litt believes that the Ohio Department of Transportation's process for designing the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland will likely lead to an uninspired bridge, saying that "the prospects for outstanding design are looking downright slim."

The board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland will ask Westlake Reed Leskosky to produce final construction drawings for its planned University Circle building. The board will vote again on June 15, and may then reveal Farshid Moussavi's concept for the museum. A November groundbreaking is possible.

Developer MRN Ltd. has secured financing for the $44 million first phase of the mixed-use Uptown development in University Circle, and hopes to break ground this summer. Architect Stanley Saitowitz created conceptual designs for apartments over retail along both sides of Euclid Avenue, and presented them to the Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee. The committee unanimously approved the plans, but criticized the presentation for lacking detail.

Update: the Cleveland City Planning Commission also unanimously approved the designs.

On Friday, the Cleveland Coalition will hold the second event in its series on the planned Cleveland casino, a charrette at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. The event is free and open to the public, but participants should register and review an information packet.

Steven Litt says that the Circle 118 townhouses at Euclid Avenue and East 118th Street have "brightened a once dreary corner" in University Circle. When completed, the development will have 17 units.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI selected LMN Architects of Seattle to develop conceptual designs for the planned Medical Mart and new convention center in Cleveland. The company will create schematic and design development drawings, but will not be the project's architect of record. LMN will also oversee the construction manager to ensure quality and avoid cost overruns. Concurrently, a citizens group raised questions about the project's financing.

Today's Plain Dealer looked at some of Cleveland's overlooked architectural treasures, including the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Meanwhile, Cleveland Area History is working on a list of the 100 most significant landmarks in Cleveland.

On Friday and Saturday, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland held MOCAmentum, an invitation-only Appreciative Inquiry summit. The museum has raised most of the funds needed for its planned new University Circle building, and may unveil Farshid Moussavi's architectural plans in late March.

Steven Litt critiqued the design of the new Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center building (PDF) on Euclid Avenue in University Circle. He said that the "four-story building is a strong urban presence" and that "Bostwick designed the building as a contributor to an evolving neighborhood, not a stand-alone star."

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission today approved designs for the hotel and office tower that is part of the Flats east bank development. Renderings and floor plans are available at the meeting agenda.

The trustees of the Cleveland Museum of Art voted unanimously to proceed with Step C of the museum's building campaign, the second major phase of its $350 million expansion and renovation. The phase will include the construction of the west wing and central atrium.

MMPI's announcement that they now intend to build the Medical Mart at the northern edge of Mall C surprised Cleveland leaders, and they are concerned about the proposed changes. Steven Litt considered the architectural and urban design implications of the new site and how Public Auditorium would fit in. Commissioner Hagan defended MMPI, while Mayor Jackson still wants the company to renovate Public Auditorium.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the recent events underscore the need for better communication. MedCity News compared the project's timetable with those of competing developments in Nashville and New York City.

Materials from the recent All You Can Eat event are now available online, including a project gallery and video of the panel discussion.

CWRU supplied more details about the upcoming lecture by Douglas Farr.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer praised City Architecture's design for the planned new Collinwood Community Recreation Center. The $10.8 million conversion of a former Big Lots store will strive for a LEED Gold rating.

Douglas Farr will give the Richard N. Campen Lecture in Architecture at the Allen Memorial Medical Library on November 5. Titled "Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature", the talk is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Christopher Diehl will step down from his post as director of Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative to concentrate on teaching. He has led the program since May 2007.

The third annual Cleveland Design Competition launched today. This year's competition focuses on the downtown Amtrak station and "challenges entrants to propose designs for a Multi-Modal Transportation Center in Downtown Cleveland at the north end of the historic Mall." The registration deadline is December 1.

All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Architectural Ideas for Cleveland will present "a collective exhibition of architectural ideas for vacant sites in Cleveland, Ohio" on October 30 and 31 at the Sculpture Center. Proposals are due by September 30.

Architect Miguel Rosales has developed six concepts for the planned pedestrian bridge at Cleveland's North Coast Harbor. The City plans to select a design this fall, begin design work next year, and start construction in 2012. Steven Litt said that the project could "set a new standard of excellence for public infrastructure in Cleveland, if not the entire state." The City is conducting a poll where people can vote for their favorite design.

The Cleveland Stater explored the new Student Center under construction at CSU's downtown campus. It's scheduled to open in May 2010.

On September 10, RTA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center at East 21st Street and Prospect Avenue. The $9.6 million facility near Cleveland State University is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010. It will include public art (PDF) and design elements to honor the late congresswoman.

The City of Strongsville is requesting proposals for planning and design services to assist in the development of an architectural identity.

Architect Mehrdad Yazdani presented his design concept for the new University Circle rapid transit station at a recent public meeting in Cleveland Heights. Construction of the $10 million project is scheduled to begin in fall 2010.

Steven Litt spoke with Boston architect Miguel Rosales about the pedestrian bridge he will be designing for North Coast Harbor in Cleveland.

With the Greater Circle Seniors Design Charette starting today, WCPN spoke with Rob Hilton, President of the McGregor Foundation and Margaret Calkins of IDEAS, Inc., one of the judges.

MOCA was scheduled to unveil the designs for its new University Circle building this month and enter the public phase of its fundraising campaign, but delayed the announcement because of the recession. The museum has raised about half of its target.

On April 16-19, participants in the McGregor Foundation's Greater Circle Seniors Design Charette will generate ideas for affordable senior housing at four sites in Cleveland's Glenville, Fairfax, and Buckeye-Shaker neighborhoods.

As predicted, Osborn Engineering today told the Cuyahoga County Commissioners that the foundation of the existing Cleveland Convention Center is sound and that it would be feasible to reuse it for a new facility. The presentation is available online (PPT). On Monday, Cleveland City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling the Mall site the "most advantageous" location for the Medical Mart and new convention center. Meanwhile, Steven Litt examined Forest City Enterprises' revised proposal for a convention center at Tower City, and is concerned that the site may be too small. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Forest City concept deserves to be considered.

Update: Osborn's Convention Center Foundation System Study (PDF, 13.3 MB) is also available.

The Shaker Heights Architectural Board of Review approved plans for a new Blue Line rapid transit station at Lee Road.

Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials yesterday presented their planning studies for the Medical Mart and new convention center, first to Cleveland City Council and later at a public meeting attended by over 300 people. The presentations answered many of Steven Litt's questions about the proposal, but left other questions unanswered. Forest City Enterprises used the public meeting to urge officials to reconsider the eliminated Tower City site. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey liveblogged the proceedings and provided other insights.

The Plain Dealer examined the unusual ownership arrangement described in the memorandum of understanding (PDF) between Cuyahoga County and MMPI, and County Administrator Jim McCafferty differed with the paper's portrayal (PDF) of the agreement.

Conceptual designs for the new University-Cedar (PDF) transit station were presented to the RTA board's Planning and Development Committee on Tuesday.

(via Urban Ohio)

Leaders in Strongsville want the City to have an architectural identity, and may encourage one style for future construction and renovations.

The jury of the Fairfax intergenerational housing architecture competition awarded first place to a design by Fernando Bonilla of Maryland. The Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation will pursue funding to further develop the plans and build the project.

The University Circle Design Review Committee approved the Cleveland Institute of Art's revised plans for an expansion of its McCullough Center. The previous design included banners covering the entire west facade, while the updated renderings show an unobscured northwest corner of the building.

Steven Litt urges Cleveland Institute of Art leaders to drop plans for covering the majority of its planned expansion with large banners, calling it a "strangely comical" idea.

Steven Litt was impressed by the plans for the redesign of the bus and rapid transit station at the base of Cedar Hill in University Circle. Under the plans, the transfer station on the south side of Cedar Glen would be replaced with a new public park.

The University Circle Design Review Committee tabled the plans for an expansion of the Cleveland Institute of Art, saying that the ideas needed refinement. Winy Maas of MVRDV is collaborating with the Pittsburgh office of Burt Hill on the design.

The Cleveland Public Library's Fine Arts Department shared information about their local architectural history resources.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is continuing to develop plans for a renovation and expansion. Architect Curt Fentress recently shared his latest ideas and floor plans. The museum hopes to obtain a LEED Platinum rating and remain open during construction.

Ohio EPA officials are not satisfied with the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a Twinsburg medical campus, and suggested further modifications. The Clinic submitted a second revision on Friday.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

The Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation is sponsoring a national architecture competition for an intergenerational housing development. Its objective is to "provide an innovative, affordable, sustainable and supportive environment for families in which grandparents are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren." Kent State's Urban Design Collaborative is coordinating the competition.

This week's episode of WVIZ's Applause visits three houses: the straw bale house on Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights, architect Robert Maschke's modernist home near the West Shoreway, and Tremont's Clarence Court townhouses designed by Dan Bickerstaff.

Plain Dealer critics Steven Litt and Tony Brown compared notes about the renovated Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.

Cleveland State University held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Student Center. It is scheduled to be completed in 2010, and is being built on the site of the former University Center. The University has a webcam that shows construction progress.

Steven Litt is not impressed by the exterior architecture of the Cleveland Clinic's new Miller Family Pavilion and Glickman Tower, but is more pleased with their interiors and the work of landscape architect Peter Walker. He also writes about the work of Justin Glanville at Building Cleveland by Design.

University Hospitals held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for three new buildings at its University Circle campus. Steven Litt feels that the "major buildings in the expansion are shaping up as a missed opportunity to create a powerful, lively and welcoming new face for the hospital along Euclid Avenue".

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer critiqued the new Lakewood Public Library. He feels that architect Robert A.M. Stern's neoclassical building "is convincing in many ways, and full of passionate conviction. It's also emotionally cool to a fault and strangely anachronistic, as if the building could have been built 60 to 100 years ago." Construction was completed earlier this year, and the library was rededicated in June.

Gross Builders is seeking permission to build more lookalike homes than normally allowed at its Carrington Court senior housing development in Solon.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt finds the renderings of new residential and retail buildings for the Uptown development in University Circle to be "highly encouraging", but cautions that "it's far too soon to declare the project a success."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the construction "will lead to a well-rounded University Circle".

Preservationist Steve McQuillin shares his thoughts about the restoration and renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Art's 1916 building, and encourages the museum to continue a public dialogue about the remainder of the expansion plans.

Steven Litt approves of the in-progress renovations (PDF) of the Main Classroom at Cleveland State University, saying that "one the ugliest things in Cleveland is now among the most-improved."

Westlake Reed Leskosky unveiled designs for a 13 story office building at the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland. The glassy tower would sit directly south of the Cleveland Trust Tower. The K&D Group is trying to have the Marcel Breuer-designed tower added to the National Register of Historic Places, and is seeking federal and state historic tax credits.

Architect Winy Mass will continue to work on designs for an expansion of the Cleveland Institute of Art. His first proposal for the expansion was dropped because construction costs would have been too high.

If the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland moves its headquarters to the suburbs from downtown Cleveland, Cleveland State University has expressed an interest in using the existing building for offices. It was built in 1965 and designed by noted modernist architect Edward Durell Stone.

Steven Litt considers how outgoing CSU President Michael Schwartz has improved the campus through better master planning. He says that Schwartz's retirement announcement provides an opportunity to "reflect on just how much the city owes him, not just for raising academic standards over the past seven years, but for scrapping the university's old plan and coming up with something far better."

Steven Litt shares some thoughts about the proposed Public Square tower, the plans for the Ameritrust complex, and the Medical Mart. Roldo Bartimole speculates about the lack of recent Medical Mart news.

The Cleveland Museum of Art's board of trustees yesterday voted unanimously to proceed with the second and final phase of the Museum's expansion project. The completion date for the $350 million expansion was pushed back one year to 2012.

South Euclid officials say that demolition of the north side of Cedar Center may begin in August. At Cleveland State, exterior demolition of University Center started this morning.

The Jacobs Group and Hines Interests of Houston yesterday announced plans for a 21 story office tower on the parking lot facing the west side of Public Square. Public Square Tower is a $180 million project that would feature 500,000 square feet of office space. Construction could start next year. Improvising Schema is critical of Gensler's design for the tower, calling it "another impersonal glass box".

An estimate projects that the design for the Cleveland Institute of Art expansion will cost well over the $55 million budgeted for the project. The school's next steps are unclear, but leaders hope to continue working with architect Winy Maas of MVRDV.

Cleveland State University and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will share the costs of restoring three WPA murals that were salvaged from the former Valleyview Homes in Tremont. Two of the murals will be installed in the University's new student center once it is built. Another piece of art from the complex will be installed in a community center at Tremont Pointe.

Steven Litt feels that the developers of the proposed Mayfield Lofts condominiums in Little Italy should be granted the zoning variances that they are seeking. Some residents feels that the six story, 24,000 square foot building at Mayfield Road and East 119th Street would be too tall.

The University Circle Design Review Committee unanimously approved colorful designs for the Circle 118 Townhomes, a proposed 17 unit townhouse development at Euclid Avenue and East 118th Street.

Mayor Patton of Solon has amended the proposal to eliminate the City's Architectural Board of Review. Instead of replacing it with an informal Design Review Committee, he proposed giving its authority to the City's planning director. A public hearing on the subject will be held on May 5.

For the second time, the K&D Group was the sole bidder for the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland. The bid was for the $35 million minimum set by Cuyahoga County. The developer's plans are similar to its earlier proposal, with a mix of hotel, residential, and office uses in renovated and new space. The company hired the firm of Westlake Reed Leskosky to design the proposed new office tower at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street. Channel 3 has images of the proposal.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is almost halfway through its construction project, and the first renovated portions will reopen to the public on June 29. The reopened galleries are on the second floor of the museum's 1916 building. The first floor is scheduled to reopen a year later.

In order to make the Cleveland Trust Tower more attractive to prospective developers, Cuyahoga County will invest up to $4 million in additional asbestos abatement.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History shared an early conceptual model of its planned expansion. It includes a new glass lobby and a new parking garage. The project will aim for a LEED Platinum rating.

Steven Litt critiqued City Architecture's preliminary plans for the Upper Chester development near University Circle and found much to like, although he feels that the firm "needs to settle down with a simpler, stronger and cleaner approach" for the project's first apartment building.

University Center at Cleveland State University will permanently close on March 17, and it will be demolished this spring. The replacement Student Center is scheduled to open on the site in spring 2010.

The City of Solon might eliminate its three-person Architectural Board of Review, replacing it with a committee that would meet as projects require approval.

Doug Price of The K&D Group said that the rendering of a proposed office tower at the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland was "a quick concept to get something in the paper". He added that the building will not resemble the rendering, and that he would like a local architect to design the structure.

Update: the news was a surprise to architect Robert Corna.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt remains unimpressed with the designs for a new cancer center at the University Hospitals campus in University Circle, saying it "shows only marginal improvement since the hospital unveiled its disappointing initial concept in the spring."

Cuyahoga County officials unsealed bids today for the Ameritrust complex at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. Although they were expecting several bids (PDF), the only package was a $35 million bid from the K&D Group of Willoughby. The company's plans call for converting the Cleveland Trust Tower to a 170 room hotel and 200 residential units. They also want to construct a new 200,000 square foot office tower at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street and build additional parking and residential space.

Update: the Plain Dealer also reported on the bid and reactions to the news.

Steven Litt revisited his critique of the new Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations building at Case Western Reserve University, and had a change of heart. He now feels that the "Mandel building shows how you can have solid, contemporary architecture and a strong, neighborhood-sensitive design that fits well in its setting."

The Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center plans to build a new home at Euclid Avenue and East 117th Street in University Circle. Steven Litt feels that the Bostwick Design Partnership's preliminary designs for the four-story building are good, but could be better.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer recaps Northeast Ohio's top art and architecture stories of 2007.

Cuyahoga County officials expect to receive as many as five bids on the Cleveland Trust Tower by their January 16 deadline. The County has spent $5.9 million on asbestos removal and architectural design for the tower.

Michael Gill reviewed the Cleveland Artists Foundation's "Cleveland Goes Modern" exhibit in this week's Free Times. It "shows an architectural movement that was just a little too adventurous in its abandonment of nostalgia, a little too new for Northeast Ohio, and indeed most of the United States." It's on display at the Beck Center for the Arts through November 24.

(Update: Steven Litt also reviewed the show, calling it "the first word on the subject, and hopefully not the last.")

Cuyahoga County is preparing to accept bids on the Ameritrust complex at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. The County Commissioners will sell the property if they are able to recoup their $35 million investment. Last week, architect Jane Weinzapfel spoke in favor of preserving the Breuer Tower, and yesterday, Steven Litt mentioned that "the tower has been damaged irreparably" by workers performing asbestos abatement.

Recent and planned medical center construction by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals has been exclusively in suburban and exurban communities, and not in the region's core cities. The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, continues to reshape its main campus in Cleveland. Steven Litt notes that "it's far too soon to judge how good a job the Clinic is doing architecturally," but "it is a good time to start gathering impressions and to hear about the Clinic's design goals."

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cleveland Institute of Art's planned expansion of the McCullough Center will be "a boon for the college and for the Triangle development nearby."

Steven Litt critiqued the designs for the Center for Creative Arts, which is under construction at Tri-C's Metro Campus. He called it "repressed and dull, hard and utilitarian" and "one of the weaker efforts" he's seen in his 16 years in Cleveland.

A series of events will be held this month about modernist architecture, its reuse and preservation, and the Breuer Tower.

Steven Fong, dean of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design will leave his post in December to concentrate on opportunities at Khoury Levit Fong, his new firm. His plans to move the school's entire graduate program in architecture to Cleveland are now on hold.

The Cleveland Institute of Art unveiled the designs for an expansion of the McCullough Center on upper Euclid Avenue in University Circle. Designed by architect Winy Maas of MVRDV, the 80,000 square foot structure is scheduled to open in 2009.

Steven Litt describes the latest designs for the new CSU College of Education and Human Services building at Euclid Avenue and East 25th Street as a building that "will be a supporting player, not a star."

Developers revealed a shortlist of six architecture firms as candidates to design the Arts and Retail District in University Circle. It includes several highly respected national firms, and the developers may select more than one. They expect to make a decision in a week to ten days.

University Circle and Little Italy can be transformed by RTA's new E. 120th Street rapid station, according to Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer.

A $36 million building for the College of Education and Human Services is being designed to fulfill part of the Cleveland State University campus master plan. The facility will open by Spring 2010.

RTA revealed its plans for a new rapid station at East 120th Street in Little Italy. In addition to a new station, the plans prepared by Studio Techne feature transit-oriented development elements including a parking garage, a transit transfer station, retail space, and apartments. The plans also offer a first glimpse of massings for the Arts and Retail District in University Circle, including tentative footprints of new buildings for MOCA and and the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Steven Litt praises the design of the new Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music, calling it "one of the most beautiful new music venues in the region." It's scheduled to open in November.

Last week, the Cleveland City Planning Commission and the Design Review Committee approved the demolition of Don Hisaka's 1974 University Center at Cleveland State, and approved Charles Gwathmey's preliminary designs for its replacement.

Steven Litt critiqued the schematic designs for Charles Gwathmey's new student center at Cleveland State University, and said that it should be "a strong, assertive, memorable building open to the city and campus on all sides." Construction of the building slated to replace the existing University Center is scheduled for 2008 to 2010.

In this week's Free Times, William Bostwick reviews the OPEN: New Designs for Public Space exhibit at MOCA. "Though it highlights dozens of new buildings that re-imagine things like plazas, parks and performance spaces, it leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. But don't worry: That's a good thing."

Foreign Office Architects devised a design for the new MOCA building at Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road in University Circle, but MOCA will not unveil the design until they complete a fundraising feasibility study. MOCA Director Jill Snyder said that the four story museum will qualify for a LEED rating.

Plain Dealer art and architecture critic Steven Litt started a weblog at Cleveland.com titled Architecture and the Urban Landscape. He says that "commentaries online will dovetail with our coverage in the pages of newspaper, while also veering in other directions."

An exhibit showcasing the entries in the "What Would you do with the Breuer Building?" design competition will open tomorrow as part of the Ingenuity festival. Steven Litt reviews the exhibit, and GreenCityBlueLake provides an overview and a gallery of the entries.

The expanded main branch of the Lakewood Public Library opened yesterday. The 38,000 square foot expansion was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York.

The Buffalo News describes a few of Cleveland's architectural highlights that may be of interest to tourists.

Roldo Bartimole feels that the people who would profit from the construction of a medical mart and a new convention center should pay for it, and also laments the Cleveland City Planning Commission's decision on the Cleveland Trust Tower. The Plain Dealer and Channel 3 present additional details about the vote to demolish the downtown skyscraper.

This morning, the Cleveland City Planning Commission is again discussing Cuyahoga County's request to demolish the Cleveland Trust Tower. A Plain Dealer editorial once again urges the Planning Commission to approve the demolition, and Nathan C. Hoyt of Davis Brody Bond explains the architecture firm's proposal for reusing the tower.

(Update: the Planning Commission approved the demolition by a vote of 5-2, and Frank Jackson said they made the right decision. The Planning Commission did not authorize the demolition of the adjacent 1010 Euclid building.)

While Cuyahoga County has a legal opinion that states Cleveland's charter gives the County the right to overrule the Cleveland City Planning Commission and demolish the Cleveland Trust Tower, Commissioner Hagan said they "will not move ahead unless the mayor and council president assures us that under the charter we can move ahead without acquiescence of the planning commission." Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt feels that bypassing the Planning Commission would place it at a disadvantage in the future.

At the June 8 Planning Commission meeting, former Cleveland Planning Director Hunter Morrison presented his Seven Decision-making Principles for Major Redevelopment Projects.

By a vote of 4-2, the Cleveland City Planning Commission refused to approve a demolition permit for the Cleveland Trust Tower. Today's New York Times includes an overview of the controversy surrounding the downtown skyscraper.

Steven Litt reviews the exhibit Open: New Designs for Public Space, an exhibit on the work of Foreign Office Architects, and the Uptown Launch Pad, all on display at MOCA. "The shows suggest that Cleveland -- a poor, shrinking city suffering from low self-esteem -- could become more lively and cosmopolitan if it emulates or surpasses the examples on view." He also notes that MOCA has started a new weblog.

The Chatter column in this week's Free Times covers increased emissions from the Mittal Steel mill in Cleveland and the discussion about the proposed demolition of the Cleveland Trust Tower before the Cleveland City Planning Commission.The Planning Commission will take up the question again on Friday, and Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt feels it's likely that the City will approve the demolition.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt interviewed architects Curt Fentress, Farshid Moussavi, and Winy Maas, each of whom is designing a major construction project for a University Circle institution.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission decided on Friday that they need more details before they decide on Cuyahoga County's request to demolish the Cleveland Trust Tower.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission heard from architects who advocated an adaptive reuse of the Cleveland Trust Tower. On June 8, the Planning Commission will hear a presentation on the tower from Cuyahoga County officials and will take public comment.

If the Cleveland City Planning Commission refuses to grant a demolition permit for the Cleveland Trust Tower, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners may be able to demolish it under a clause in Cleveland's charter that gives them the power to overrule the Planning Commission.

Also, an architecture competition titled "What Would you do with the Breuer Building?" (PDF) is being held as part of this year's Ingenuity Festival.

At his talk on Tuesday, architect William McDonough suggested that Cleveland should make itself a capital of renewable energy. "The only massive job-creation possibilities I see that have a completely game-changing quality to them would be in the world of renewables."

Architects from Davis Brody Bond, the only firm that proposed an adaptive reuse of the Cleveland Trust Tower for a new Cuyahoga County administration building, will travel to Cleveland to present their analysis to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday.

(Update: Michael Gill writes about the tower in this week's Free Times.)

MOCA will host OPEN: new designs for public space from June 1 through August 19. The exhibit presents innovative public space projects from around the world. Architect Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects, the firm designing MOCA's new building, will speak at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on May 31 at 6:00 p.m.

(via Rockitecture)

The Cleveland Museum of Art opened an exhibition that highlights the museum's expansion and renovation plans. Construction remains on schedule for completion in 2011.

(Update: the Akron Beacon Journal presents additional details.)

The Associated Press reported on the controversies surrounding the proposed demolition of the Cleveland Trust Tower in downtown Cleveland. The Cleveland City Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on June 1 and 8.

Architect and sustainable development expert William McDonough will speak at the Cleveland Clinic on May 29 at 5:00 p.m. as part of the Ideas for Tomorrow series. The talk is free, but registration is required.

(via Rockitecture)

Flats east bank developer Scott Wolstein has "a chance for something special", says Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt. Wolstein revealed that he is considering five elite out-of-town architecture firms, as well as two local firms. He also indicated that he wants the development to have a contemporary design, and not a nostalgic style reminiscent of the nearby Warehouse District.

Preservation Ohio released their 2007 List of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites. The only Northeast Ohio structure on the list is the Cleveland Trust Tower, which the Cuyahoga County Commissioners recently voted to demolish.

Adam Harvey posted images of a booklet that was published by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission in 1977 on the architecture of East Tremont.

(via Tremonter)

As part of the Ideas for Tomorrow series, Peter B. Lewis and Frank Gehry will speak at the Cleveland Clinic on April 25 at 5:30 p.m. The event is free, but registration is required.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt is not impressed by the designs of three new buildings planned by University Hospitals for their University Circle campus. Conceptual plans for the three buildings were recently approved by the Cleveland City Planning Commission. The new buildings are part of UH's Vision 2010 plan.

Sun News columnist Joe Yachanin agrees with Miller's Sam Miller's call for a unified Cuyahoga County government. Roldo Bartimole takes the opposite view and also criticizes the Plain Dealer editorial board for its stand on the Cleveland Trust Tower.

A Plain Dealer editorial supports Cleveland State University's plans for a new arts complex on Euclid Avenue and says that "school officials are going about it the right way."

Cleveland State University unveiled plans for a $50 million arts building on Euclid Avenue next to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Conceptual plans prepared by Westlake Reed Leskosky include an eight story tower and three theaters. Construction could begin as early as 2010, and the University is seeking private donations to fund its construction. Additional renderings of the conceptual plan are available at Cleveland vs. The World.

The Cleveland and Gund Foundations jointly announced that they will only award capital grants to building and renovation projects that employ green building techniques.

This morning on WCPN's Sound of Ideas program, architect Robert P. Madison, incoming CUDC Director Christopher Diehl, and Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt discussed the fate of the Cleveland Trust Tower. A Plain Dealer editorial says the Cuyahoga County Commissioners "made the right choice" in voting to demolish the downtown skyscraper.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved Cuyahoga County's request to tear down the Huron and Prospect Buildings and three pedestrian bridges at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street, but did not vote on the proposed demolition of the adjacent Cleveland Trust Tower.

As expected, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners voted 2-1 today to demolish the Cleveland Trust Tower and to replace it with a new county administration building to be designed by Kohn Pederson Fox and Robert P. Madison International.

The Cleveland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects is encouraging people to attend Thursday's Cuyahoga County Board of County Commissioners meeting to urge the Commissioners to preserve and renovate the Cleveland Trust Tower.

Trustees of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History selected Fentress Bradburn Architects of Denver to design the museum's expansion and renovation. The firm will develop a preliminary design by September.

Metropolis magazine covers the likely demolition of Marcel Breuer's Cleveland Trust Tower, which would add Cleveland to the list of cities that have torn down buildings designed by the influential modernist. "Part of the problem is that while Breuer is hailed as a master, the public has not always had such a warm relationship with his work."

Architect Christopher Diehl will be the new director of Kent State University's Urban Design Collaborative. He will begin work on May 1. In addition, Dean Steven Fong announced that the school's entire master's degree program in architecture will relocate to Cleveland by March 2009.

Steve Rugare acknowledges that the early-1970s architecture of the Cleveland Trust Tower and CSU University Center has fallen out of favor, notes that the architecture firms selected to design their replacements are known for mundane buildings, and concludes that "we shouldn't sacrifice them when mediocrity is all we're going to get in return." The Design Rag also lists several reasons for saving the tower.

The Cleveland Institute of Art selected MVRDV to design their new building on upper Euclid Avenue in the University Circle Arts and Retail District. The cutting-edge Dutch architecture firm is known for "designing apartment slabs and towers with colorful and eccentric window patterns, giant rectangular holes cut into their middles, and highly pronounced staircases that zigzag across their facades."

As local leaders prepare to demolish a pair of well-known brutalist buildings, the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt asks, "Is possible to get a fair hearing for a style nobody loves?" Cleveland State University plans to raze and replace Don Hisaka's University Center, and two of the three Cuyahoga County Commissioners favor tearing down Marcel Breuer's Ameritrust Tower in downtown Cleveland.

Steven Litt reviews Bostwick Design Partnership's plans for a new entry pavilion for the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at CSU, and says "the new main entrance will go a long way toward giving the existing one a new identity." Construction of the $8.8 million modernist project is scheduled to begin in April.

The first annual Cleveland Design Competition officially launched today. The initial competition will focus on designs for the Irishtown Bend area on the Cuyahoga River's west bank. The registration deadline is April 16, and the submission deadline is May 1. Updates will be available via the Competition's weblog.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt looks back at 2006 in art, architecture, and urban design. He also provides updates on the status of some projects, including the Little Italy rapid station and the fate of the Breuer tower in downtown Cleveland.

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