Monday, September 10, 2012

Column and Stripe: Cleveland Public Art and Architecture Walking tour (@clevelandart #columnandstripe)

On Thursday evening a group of about 30 Column and Stripe members assembled in the plaza separating Progressive Field from The Q downtown.

Our host for the evening was Greg Peckham, Managing Director of LAND Studio and Thomas Starinsky, Associate Director of The Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation.

The talk started revealing some unique features of the complex we were standing in, credited as one of the first planned urban sporting complexes in the country. Integrated with the existing neighborhood and with features now taken for granted -- like a sunken playing surface in Progressive Field so that the activity can be seen by passers by outside the park.  Public art in the project is functional (such metal spires near Ontario street conceal ventilation for underground kitchen activities), historical (a planter that incorporates photos, maps, and merchandise from the Central Market that had occupied the site from 1850.

Column and Stripe Members
Outside the Colonial Arcade /
Courtesy Clarissa Westmeyer
Temporarily halted by a passing rainstorm we took shelter under a convenient bridge and learned a little bit more about the mission of both organizations before the skies parted and we pressed on toward the Colonial Arcade -- stopping for a moment to discuss Cleveland's Bike Rack, a new-to-me bicycle parking option for downtown commuters that includes lockers as well as showers and changing facilities for professionals who want to bike to work.

At the Colonial Arcade we had a chance encounter with the Arcade's new developer inviting our ideas for what we'd like to see in the next generation of downtown retail and along with a plug for a Pop-Up Party on September 27th from 5-8pm that sounds very interesting. Although the Colonial had been a stop on a walking tour I took about a year ago, I had never actually been inside the Arcade and was excited about stepping through the doors. It's a bit smaller in scale than The Arcade, but nonetheless an impressive piece of architecture connecting  Euclid Avenue on the North to Prospect on the South.

The Arcade / Courtesy
Clarissa Westmeyer
Continuing with a slight jog on Euclid Avenue there was a brief discussion of the public art elements involved in the Euclid Corridor project (many of them previously discussed in these two posts from the "Take a Hike" walking tours series) before continuing through The Arcade -- an engineering challenge so great for its time that only a bridge builder was willing to take it on, and one of my favorite interior spaces in Cleveland.

Passing through The Arcade we made a slight jog again -- this time on Superior Avenue to visit the Cleveland Public Library's Reading Garden (home to some of my favorite sculptures from Tom Otterness -- whose work I've since stalked in New York and Kansas City among others). The original plan, it turns out, for the Cleveland Public Library's expansion was  for the new building to be attached to the existing facility. For a variety of reasons that generated outrage and the result was two distinct buildings linked by a tunnel running under the reading garden.

Column and Stripers on the roof
at Greenhouse Tavern / Courtesy
Clarissa Westmeyer
With the Cleveland Public  Library closed for the evening we didn't actually enter the garden (or fully experience the LAND-facilitated temporary art installation in the garden) we walked around the perimeter of the garden before concluding the official tour in Mall A, home to Cleveland's Fountain of Eternal Life where the past and future architecture of the Mall Plan buildings was discussed -- from the new (and very contemporary) Medical Mart respecting the vertical rules of the existing classical buildings to the "green roof" of the subterranean Cleveland Convention center.

The evening drew to a fun close with an extended happy hour on the roof of the Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th street with plenty of fun socialization on a beautiful early fall evening.

Also, as a plug, a few of Rachel's wonderful robots (including my CelloBot) are on display as part of the show It's Only A Paper Moon at Proximity Gallery trough October 6.

(Full disclosure: I serve as the chair for Column and Stripe's Philanthropy Committee)

No comments:

Post a Comment