Aug '08 - Dec '09
Our midterm Jury was this Friday.
It went well - better than I could have possibly expected.
I was initially apprehensive because of the cast of reviewers. Because we’re working on the port site, and the port site is a real project, we’ve been in contact with a lot of real stakeholders within the city and region. Planning Commissioners, Past Planning Commissioners, Real Estate people, Developers, More Developers, Architects who Develop things, People from the City, Logistics people from the port, Etc. I’m continually immaturely afraid of the real world and the lack of realism that much of it seems to display, so I was afraid that the jury would be ‘stupid’ at best….with most of the comments mirroring my earlier complaints about how density and mixed use is the answer and anything else that didn’t turn the port into a large lifestyle center feat: Las Vegas style renderings of ‘people having fun’ would be incorrect. This isn’t just pessimism. We had been told this (more or less directly) before
….and many of the projects in our class were pushing for non-dense, marginally mixed use projects. Ours was actually pretty close to this…kind of. I was afraid we’d sit right in the middle and be too conservative for the daring, and too daring for the fiscally responsive.
But the jury went really well.
We opened with this: Our Photojournalism student’s presentation documenting our process. She did a great job at presenting our struggles in an accurate and uncomfortably revealing way. It was a fun icebreaker, and set the mood appropriately that we are really just struggling to find an answer.
We proposed a large urban park on the city-side of the site (where there’s a 60’ escarpment) and development along the lake. We hoped to highlight the divide between the site and the city through the use of a park, which fits well with the context – it continues a band of park on the other side of the river (which is almost inaccessible now) and makes the stadium/rockhall/science center on the east side more relevant (since right now they’re disconnected and surrounded by odd parking lots, etc).
The comments were very helpful from everybody and really seemed to present some options. Some were in favor of more iconic use of the site, others were disgusted by the idea of fixing Cleveland through tourism. There were discussions about appropriate density – how many people reach the critical mass of a neighborhood? (someone argues 500, anther 5000). Discussions about appropriate sizes of parks, appropriate features, reasonable connectivity, and the ability of the park and site to affect things around our site – specifically turning the stadium into a more-than-8-times-a-year feature.