Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If a Tree Falls in a City - East 12th Street

While not breaking news, the absurdity of the changing East 12th streetscape above (absent the central median trees) certainly deserves a few sentences on The Design Rag. The above image, taken yesterday morning, shows progress made towards the redesign of East 12th Street in anticipation of the Avenue District development between 12th and 13th Streets.

From an August 28th article by Steven Litt in Cleveland's Plain Dealer:

"Architect Paul Volpe of City Architecture, who is designing a $150 million complex of new loft and townhouse buildings in the area, obtained preliminary 'conceptual' approval earlier this summer from the Cleveland Design Review and City Planning committees to tear out the medians, cut down the trees and replace them with wider sidewalks shaded by new trees."

What will this new stretch of 12th St. between Superior and Chester look like?

Scott from Cleveland vs. The World notes a few details from the August 4 Cleveland Planning Commission meeting (Scott's site is a great resource for checking out the goings-on at each Planning Commission meeting):
"DRC 06-031: Reserve Square, Streetscape Improvements, East 12th Street Streetscape Plan, final approval.
Features angled parking, removal of median and bike path."

In addition to removing mature trees that provide a continuous broadleaf canopy over East 12th St. (will these trees will be replaced with sickly honey locusts spaced thirty feet apart??), the streetscape plan will introduce angled parking on a heavily traveled bus route (nearly a dozen buses during rush hours). Will the suburban planning principals of angled parking (easy to park, and more cars per linear foot of street) give cars ownership over East 12th? Ironically, the decisions to remove the central median, widen already wide sidewalks, and provide more parking on East 12th which were meant to provide a better pedestrian experience, will likely have the opposite effect. Crosswalk distances across traffic lanes will be wider (due to median removal), angled autos will compete for curb space with frequently stopping and passing buses, and deeper sidewalks with fewer trees will intensify the presence of the brutal concrete Reserve Square behemoth.

Of course, the completed streetscape engaged in everyday city-life will be the best indicator of its advantages for street-level retail or pedestrian safety and enjoyment. However, I suspect that this is an exercise in over-planning and a poor project for investing City $$ and resources for failing infrastructure (hardly failing and hardly more deserving than half of Cleveland's city streets).


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


"Sometimes not only a continuity of form, but a continuity of tradition is necessary."

A. Trystan Edwards

In the Grand Tradition,
L.S. Moore


Monday, November 20, 2006

If the Building Doesn't Fit...

"...the County has made up its mind, selected its architects, mastered its masterplan and there is little to nothing the community has done to save this historic piece of Cleveland history, nor is there much that can be done. Really, if the building doesn't fit, then the county must acquit, to put it succinctly..."
- SAVE alteration from Dru at TOI Studio


Friday, November 17, 2006

Ugly is Only Skin Deep

Previous posts include "When 'Ugly' Distracts", "Historic Breuer Photographs", and "SAVE", the source of the above altered illustration.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sociable Building

Can architecture be of good or bad manners? I am on the verge of finishing Good and Bad Manners in Architecture: An Essay on the Social Aspects of Civic Design by Trystan Edwards, so a full review and comment will be forthcoming. However, overlooking its somewhat dated prose, it does provide a glimpse at the universal ideas that underlie civic design. Given the recent discussions on Public Square and Cleveland's newest civic endeavor, Cuyahoga County's administrative complex, I though a few select quotes from Mr. Edwards book would be appropriate additions.

"Continuity, sociability, order, a fundamental respect for the thing which is next to it, these are the expression of the urbane spirit which should animate all the arts."

"Sometimes not only a continuity of form, but a continuity of tradition is necessary."

In good manners,
L.S. Moore


Friday, November 10, 2006



Thursday, November 09, 2006

Historic Breuer Photographs

As noted by Bill Barrow from CSU Library, view several historic Breuer photographs, construction images, models, and renderings here at Cleveland Memory Project.

Unfortunately, this election cycle didn't provide an opportunity to cast a vote towards County-level regime change for those unhappy with the inevitable loss of the Cleveland Trust Tower to the whimsies of County Commissioners. Persistent written and spoken opinion and analysis will be the only chance of pressuring administrators into considering the costs and environmental benefits of retaining the tower, altering the tower, or razing the tower.

Since Levin College's community forum, the blogosphere, newspapers and Litt, have been silent...


Friday, November 03, 2006

Cleveland Design City