Op-Ed: Out-Of-Town Architects Miss a Huge Opportunity

A Cleveland architect offers a scathing critique of the design choices made by one of the city's cultural institutions.
July 14, 2017, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"The damaging trend of awarding important commissions to out-of-town architects has left Northeast Ohio with a mixed landscape of mediocre buildings and drained billions of dollars from our local economy," reports William T. Eberhard.

Those strong words are inspired in the latest example by the designs of a 34-story building proposed by the Playhouse Square Foundation and designed by Chicago firm of SCB. According to Eberhard, the design's shortcomings can be described in terms of scale, materiality, form and shape, streetscape experience, and details.

In addition to these critiques of this specific development, Eberhard expands the argument to opine of the design culture of Cleveland, especially as it's supported by cultural institutions like the Playhouse Square Foundation. More strong words in conclusion from Eberhard:

These results dilute the architectural integrity of our community and shoot our economy with our own gun by displacing hundreds of millions of our dollars in fee income to communities far from Northeast Ohio. You cannot become or remain a great community with third-rate architecture. You cannot become or remain a vibrant community and pretend you care about your arts community when you do not support their workers who live here, work here, shop here, worship here and care deeply about the integrity of our communities.

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Published on Sunday, July 9, 2017 in Crain's Cleveland Business
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