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Breuer: Ameritrust Cleveland: Here we go again

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evilplatypus

in an amazing last minuet flurry somehow i was able to put together a crude board with almost no infornation. Did anyone else get a board done?

Jul 5, 07 9:30 am  · 
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brian buchalski

i'm still working on mine...where did this past week go? even if it does get to cleveland in time i'll still post my effort here.

Jul 5, 07 1:11 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

would the archinect overlord's be interested in a gallery of submittals? It would be best to get the submissions from ingenuity - they are collecting them all electronically as well. Im not sure about the file sizes but 15x10 @ 72 dpi - how many could the mapa server hold?

Jul 5, 07 2:08 pm  · 
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millerbowen
brian buchalski

i just checked out the entries and i'm very impressed. lots of unique ideas from across the globe. i really liked the proposal named "awnings"...very amusing. i was also impressed to see someone like craig scott contribute.

Jul 17, 07 6:46 pm  · 
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KEG

ep & p...are your boards online?

it looks like an interesting competition.

Jul 17, 07 6:59 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

Sweet, they got that up fast! The sin tower is awesome.

Jul 17, 07 7:12 pm  · 
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dedubs

the entries remind me of those coloring book competitions for kids that restaurants have. this really belongs in the "sarcastic architecture" thread.

my personal favorite was the CCTV Tower.. eer, i mean the "Earth/Sky Void" entry.. ;)

Jul 17, 07 7:31 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

CCTV - was that a literal alusion to OMA or was that someones original idea? That one confused me. I think your being a little harsh Danny - this was a quick, turn it out one or two image excercise with no prizes or such, just ideas to show the public people are thinking about the tower.

Jul 18, 07 9:11 am  · 
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not without

follow the money kiddies...it wouldnt be a surprise if there is some politician, either someone who overtly votes for its demolition or is working behind-the-scenes, has a stake in the construction of the new building, or has a friend or relative that can benefit from the contract...money money money...dont forget how this process really works

Jul 18, 07 11:33 am  · 
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brian buchalski

too bad the text is too small to read on the cctv (actually, the "earth><sky void") proposal. maybe millerbowen or another clevelander who examines the actual boards can fill us in on the complete idea and not just the fancy graphics.

and, yeah, this was a bit of a "coloring book competition"...but then when you've already got a building and pretty much only one image to work from it's a bit difficult to delve deeply into issues of program, structure, hvac, etc. so i guess i'm not surprised that most of the responses have been more political commentary than architecture. i think that was one of the things that i struggled with as i tried to come up with idea for it myself...and i pretty much didn't think of one in time to make the deadline. i finally settled on proposing the building be re-used as a mausoleum or a kind of vertical graveyard but i was short when it came to illustrating that vision. oh well, plenty of the other submittals are lovely so cheers to those people.

Jul 18, 07 11:33 am  · 
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evilplatypus

remember there was no materials except that picture and whatever u could scavange from the net

I enjoyed the politiccal ones - sin tower, canvases, and was intrigued that the NYC historical society dug up the orig unfinished rendering pre Breuer!

Jul 18, 07 11:37 am  · 
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dedubs

i will be up there friday, hopefully i can check it out. and evil, what i said wasn't meant to be taken to harshly.. it just really reminded me of a coloring book competition.

Jul 18, 07 11:37 am  · 
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brian buchalski

danny, i rather liked the "coloring book" remark and felt that it was a nice observation.

and, yeah, a contribution from ny historical society is something of a pleasant surprise...too bad they didn't have anything for the grosse pointe library.

Jul 18, 07 11:44 am  · 
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won and done williams

great work. really outstanding.

i ended up liking the projects that did nothing with the original breuer or did nothing to it and added on next to it. it made me realize what a strong design it was in the first place.

if i had to choose a personal favorite, it would be the lighting scheme. many buildings in detroit have used lighting to make the most of a beautiful skyline. it's a practical, simple and inexpensive way to increase appreciation for a building that not everyone is in love with.

Jul 18, 07 1:31 pm  · 
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tourant

Regarding the CCTV comment: perhaps there is some resemblance, but I happen to know of the "Earth/Sky Void" project designer's studio teaching in the late 90s at Univ. of Michigan, and he was exploring such intersecting negative space strategies with students, entitled "Double Negative" (such as can also be discerned in CCTV), years before Rem's project was around. Also, versions of this spatial strategy can be seen in the designer's firm's other work -- e.g. Fog House and LiveWorkShop House proposed for Cleveland, also done before CCTV came out...

Jul 19, 07 12:20 am  · 
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hell, cctv was a real late-comer, it's just one we all know now. did nobody ever see eisenman's 'weak form' lectures in the late80s/early90s?

Jul 19, 07 7:40 am  · 
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ice9

that's spot-on steven. eisenman has been all over this one.

link:

http://katsclass.com/10787/images/eisenman.jpg

but just to rattle the hornets' nest, i'm wondering how many people exercising a knee-jerk reaction to preserve this building have ever visited it. its actually not a great building. its another recitation of a breuer modular precast elevation theme, like the building saved in new haven, and its actually pretty damaging to the city itself. first of all, it casts a huge shadow on the corner of euclid and east 9th street because its morbidly out of scale with its context. together with the adjacent parking garage, it takes up a considerable portion of east 9th street frontage, which lately has been becoming more alive, and places dead elevations on the pedestrian level. no storefront, just blank stone and glass. its even set-back from the street wall a bit to demonstrate its general disdain for the city. its funny because people complain that cleveland is backwards and uncultured for wanting to destroy this thing, but by 1971 cities like new york already had urban design task forces staffed with famous architects that were geared to making sure buildings like the breuer thing didn't get built. so what is the backwards move?

i say take some pictures, preserve a few precast panels and put them in the cleveland art museum (also breuer, and a nice building), and build something that gives the urban fabric a fighting chance.

Jul 19, 07 10:21 am  · 
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won and done williams

"[why not] build something that gives the urban fabric a fighting chance?"

1.) money - demo and new construction will cost more than retrofitting an existing building.

2.) the environment - demo and new construction is inherently more costly to the environment; i don't care if it receives LEED diamond.

3.) historical preservation - the breuer is a historically significant building; a new building? tbd

4.) good urban design happens through an accrual of buildings over time. it does not happen with one building or through one intervention. ice9, you sound like more of a modernist than you may care to admit.

Jul 19, 07 11:21 am  · 
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ice9

jafidler-

i'll give you money and environment. fair enough. but, then i think we should be investing our efforts in finding ways to alleviate these problems, rather than jumping to the conclusion that every building by a famous 20th century architect is worth "saving."

as for being "historically significant"...i wonder where the significance lies. because it represents an achievement in breuer's career? urban history? architecture in general? again, i think this is a particularly bad (average at best) breuer building. there is nothing he is doing here that he hasn't done elsewhere. perhaps the building is a useful object-lesson of what not to do in a similar urban context. but we shouldn't insist that a small midwestern city exist as a depository of such object-lessons.

and i agree with point number 4. but, again, if you visit the building (have you?) you might appreciate how this particular building is blocking exactly that kind of accumulated development over time.

Jul 19, 07 11:51 am  · 
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4arch

also, I wouldn't be surprised if it gets replaced with some piece of neoclassical/pomo schlock that will likely be even more despised in 30 years than the current building.

i don't see why the 9th street facade couldn't be opened up and activated as part of a renovation. buildings set back farther from the street than their neighbors can be good places for outdoor cafes.

Jul 19, 07 11:54 am  · 
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there is nothing he is doing here that he hasn't done elsewhere.

wasn't this his only tower?!

Jul 19, 07 1:17 pm  · 
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won and done williams

i haven't seen the breuer in person, but i have a hard time believing that cleveland is so dense that the breuer is "blocking" anything at all.

hell, i'd trade one of detroit's lesser daniel burnham buildings for the breuer. spice up the deal with one of portman's towers just for historical diversity sake...

and what steven said.

Jul 19, 07 6:26 pm  · 
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millerbowen

Last night the exhibit was buzzing with people (from as far away as NYC and Palestine) who viewed the boards and wondered why in the world, the county would do this. On display were the letters I posted in the Love Letters for the Breuer http://realneo.us/blog/susan-miller/love-letters-for-the-breuer-tower
Please log in to realneo and add your case for support or your love letter. There is even a wonderful letter from Raphael Vinoly, which we photographed and will post to love letters.

The newer ideas that came from the exhibit make the county's paid-for renderings pale in comparison.

In addition, you will all be pleased to hear that there is a coloring contest with the image used for the exhibit and a box of crayolas near by. One I noticed in passing was the breuer rabbit tower which simply adds a pair of bunny ears to the tower. We hope to have more coloring (outside the lines is OK) as the exhibit continues. Kids were participating...

Mom's and Dad's though are learning all about the stellar plan to use their tax dollars to create and empty lot where once there was a cultural icon. $35 million minimum for an empty lot -- and that in the poorest city in the nation.


Jul 20, 07 9:22 am  · 
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brian buchalski

well, i haven't visited the building either. but it looks at least as good as any number of other buildings that are not under threat of demolition. besides, the ingenuity exhibit and call for entries has been driven by the local presence of concerned clevelanders, not outsiders such as myself. there seems to be a critical mass of concern in cleveland with a number of articulate and urbane locals committing time & effort to save this building...and, frankly, that's enough for me to lend my support to the effort.

also, millerbowen makes a good point in her last paragraph regarding the empty lot. although the "plan" is to replace the breuer with a fancy new county building, cleveland has had a bad track record of tearing down buildings in favor of something better and often only ended up with surface parking lots. considering the county's inability to present a thorough proposal for the new structure, it would just be absolutely foolish to tear down the breuer just yet.

Jul 20, 07 10:29 am  · 
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ice9

well, like i said, i'm *trying* to stir up the hornet's nest here. the knee-jerk reaction to preserve, and judge local decisions from afar, sometimes just rubs me the wrong way. i'm trying to stir up what it is that we value here, besides participation (which is great...). but i'll stop, cause i'm not trying to piss on everything.

as for being a tower...yes, i suppose. or you could just say that it is very similar to a handful of his landscrapers, tipped vertically. or two office buildings stacked on top of one another.

Jul 20, 07 11:02 am  · 
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evilplatypus

It really is a beautiful composition that needs work at street level. But as far as the tower goes, a good powerwashing would do wonders. New glazing and a wash would literally make the building look new. I actually was going to suggest that as a submission but i though it was too tongue in cheek - looking back now it would have been fine - the power wash

I fell into the trap of new tower in footprint of breuer's scheme.

Jul 20, 07 11:08 am  · 
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won and done williams

it's not at all architectural, but lately, i've been thinking a good powerwashing and the cleaning up of vandelism would go a long way towards helping preservation efforts here in detroit. i think it's a great first step that helps raise awareness and begin to change perceptions. the breuer tower doesn't look like it's in too bad of shape, but thirty years of city grime can make a building look down at the heels. the next step is to somehow inject some life into the space. there 's something about the warmth of light emanating from a building at night that really brings it to life.

Jul 20, 07 11:29 am  · 
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won and done williams

*begins*

Jul 20, 07 11:30 am  · 
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evilplatypus

When I worked in construction I had this project that I thought was terrible - The contract was to powerwash and tuckpoint a neoclassical building on a busy corner and replace the glazing seals and caulk. I thought this isnt going to do anything to help the appearance - man was I wrong. A little touch up can go miles as far as image. This building looks like its been remodeled, now people were inquiring about renting the offices above - unbelievable the new life it created for this structure.

Jul 20, 07 11:37 am  · 
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evilplatypus

So any word from Cleveland on the fate of this tower? Is the demolition permit still being issued?

Aug 31, 07 9:51 am  · 
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millerbowen

It has been busy! Phew! We tried a referendum to stay the flow of money to tear it down. Failed to get signatures -- long story.

Swiss news published story -- translated here: http://realneo.us/blog/jeff-buster/clevelands-breuer-designed-tower-s-pending-demo-featured-in-german-architectural-magazine#comment-4129

Latest update here: http://www.gcbl.org/building/rebuilding-cities/historic-preservation/raze-or-renovate-breuer-tower/faqs-on-saving-the-breuer#comment-600

Still trying to make sense to the powers that be...
suggestions here: http://www.realneo.us/blog/susan-miller/high-rise-low-rise-waste-not-want-not

If anyone is versed in lawsuits to save these things, please post a response. That may be the path they are pushing us toward at this point.

Aug 31, 07 10:07 am  · 
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millerbowen

Oh, you thought we had given up, didn't you?

But nooo...

We've been slaving away madly on a series of fronts and the commissioners have been looking at their purse and seeing that it does not contain enough coins to pull off this crazy plan. Duh, we're one of the nation's poorest cities and they just upped the sales tax to pay for a mythical medical mart.

Meanwhile, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Midwest Office sent a letter to the Commissioners; this was like pulling teeth, but they did it!

Read all about it here: http://www.gcbl.org/blog/marc-lefkowitz/preservation-efforts-gain-momentum

Here's a sneak peek for those who can't wait to click through: "The National Trust for Historic Preservation wishes to voice our support for adaptive reuse of Marcel Breuer’s Ameritrust Tower. The National Trust is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Our Washington, D.C. headquarters staff, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with the Trust’s quarter-million members and thousands of local groups in all
50 states.
As you know, the Ameritrust Tower is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is architecturally significant as Breuer’s only realized design for a skyscraper. We understand you would
consider selling the complex to an interested buyer for redevelopment. The National Trust strongly encourages you to investigate this possibility to save the building from the landfill through sale to a preservation-sensitive developer committed to saving both the Rotunda and the Ameritrust Tower.
In our experience, historic structures from the recent past can be successfully renovated to meet today’s needs and provide an interesting contrast to adjacent classically-styled historic buildings. The recent rehabilitation of Minneapolis’s Farmers and Mechanics Bank, portions of which were built in both 1942 and 1963, is a case in point (see enclosed).
Private development of the Ameritrust Tower would also open the door to use of federal and state historic tax credits, powerful tools for rehabilitation and economic revitalization across the country. In our experience, rehabilitation of historic buildings often provides cost savings over demolition and new construction, when all factors are taken into account. Seeking a private development solution would not only be fiscally responsible, it would serve the public’s interest by keeping materials from the demolished building out the landfill and avoiding the unnecessary waste of the Tower’s embodied energy.
The National Trust hopes you will seriously consider a preservation solution for Marcel Breuer’s Ameritrust Tower, either through continued county use or through sale to a preservation-minded new
owner. We thank you for your consideration, and please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jennifer Sandy, Field Representative for Ohio, to discuss this matter or if we can be of any assistance."

So there you have it. For now. There's more to come next week. Thanks to all of you mapa folks who came to our aid and gave us hope when we felt the sky crushing down upon our Breuer. The designers and architects who responded to the call for imaginative designs far outshone the suburban highway interchange project being proposed. For now, that is off the table due to lack of funds. Now we just have to save the tower. The asbestos abatement has taken its toll, but the building still stands. I will post updates as they happen.

Oct 18, 07 5:58 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

that's excellent news millerbowen. thank you for keeping us informed.

Oct 18, 07 6:03 pm  · 
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won and done williams

what is the asbestos abatement? did they tear up the interiors?

the economic recession in the midwest isn't the worst thing to happen to historical preservation. whenever i hear about the mayor's or city council's ideas about how to "improve" detroit by tearing down buildings, i just smile. it's the fords and kresges of the world that make these projects happen not the planning commission or the mayor's office.

Oct 18, 07 6:17 pm  · 
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bothands

I know its not over yet, but impressive work , millerbowen. If Breuer's tower is saved then lets hope for a well-designed reuse project. It would be great if they had a real design competition (vs. the ideas competition earlier this year)...

Oct 21, 07 9:05 pm  · 
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le bossman

i haven't been paying attention to this ameritrust tower thing. it's amazing to me how many resources will be wasted tearing this thing down, if it could stand another 200 years. puddles let me know if you guys do another competition on this one.

Oct 22, 07 10:22 am  · 
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brian buchalski

thanks for sharing that news millerbowen. i'm impressed to read that jane weinzapfel took the opportunity in public to stand strongly in favor of the building's anti-demolition. it's also nice to see her challenge cleveland to work harder at architecture and encourage the formation of a local architecture school.

Nov 3, 07 11:38 am  · 
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millerbowen

Yep, we need more architecture discussion and to build toward a critical mass here in the fields of architecture and urban planning. It shouldn't be hard though with a premiere school of Urban Design with such noted faculty as Norman Krumholz and the Kent School of Architecture and Environmental Design.
Unfortunately, Kent SAED (or CAED) will lose it's newest dean this January. He had planned to move the SAED to Cleveland. Oh well...
http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2007/10/steven_fong_to_leave_post_as_a.html

The Cleveland affiliate, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative has a strong set of innovators including the brilliant Terry Schwartz and is now headed by Christopher Diehl. Terry's and the CUDC's work on Shrinking Cities was great! http://www.cudc.kent.edu//d-Service-Learning/Shrinking/charrettehome.html

Weinzapfel said that though she and her firm often work within what she termed a "dense weave", she saw Cleveland as having a "loose weave". When I asked her to expand on this thought, she suggested that we consider weaving a system of greenspaces. No kidding. I emailed her the county's visionary greenprint which envisions a lace of park areas and public greenspaces from the outlying Frederick Law Olmsted designed Emerald Necklace (our Central Park is circumferential) inward to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. and included suggestions of bringing Lauren Bon here to replicate the "not a cornfield" idea to launch such an initiative in urban neighborhoods. http://www.notacornfield.com/

Nov 3, 07 12:04 pm  · 
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millerbowen

Greening the modern preservation movement: Bauhaus at the brink
November film and lecture series on modernism and green building

Currently we are slated to lose a large modernist building in our Northeast Ohio community, The Ameritrust Tower designed by world-renowned Bauhaus-trained architect, Marcel Breuer with Hamilton Smith in 1967, and completed in 1971 as the Cleveland Trust Co. Building. Recently, permission was granted to raze the 36-year-old, 29-story, 280,000 square foot building in downtown Cleveland.

The decision to not reuse the building has raised questions about what constitutes an historic landmark, and what environmental responsibilities we share when it comes to demolishing or reusing buildings.

Artists, architects, and the sustainability community have an opportunity to discuss and consider the intersection of landmarks and green buildings, historic preservation and modernism in architecture.

Please join us for a series of educational events with opportunities for dialogue on these issues here in Cleveland this fall.



Saturday, November 10, 2007 4:00pm -- The Primer on Breuer and the Bauhaus:
• A slide show by Tony Hiti, Chair of the Historic Resources Committee of the AIA, Cleveland Chapter on the history of Marcel Breuer and the Cleveland Trust Building
At the Sculpture Center (free parking available)

Saturday, November 17, 2007 4:00pm -- The history of why the Bauhaus came to America:
• Bauhaus in America: a film by Judith Pearlman followed by a panel discussion with Cleveland architect, Peter Van Dijk and Associate Professor of Art History at Kent State University, Carol Salus, moderated by Christopher Diehl, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
At the Cleveland Cinematheque general admission $8
• What Would You Do With The Breuer Building (from Ingenuity 2007) will be displayed in the hallway of the CIA Building for those who missed it or would like to view it again -- the show features 27 entries from Australia to Italy with several local architects offering innovative thoughts
At the Cleveland Institute of Art

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 6:00pm -- Green building and modernism; are they antithetical?
• Guest lecturer, Carl Stein, FAIA, Principal of elemental architecture, llc, of New York City and his late father, Richard Stein, FAIA, have completed numerous historic rehabilitation projects based on their innovative and pioneering research in the analysis of energy use and conservation in buildings and design. He served his architectural internship with Marcel Breuer from 1968-1971.
At Judson at University Circle (free parking available)

Brought to you by Doty & Miller Architects, D.H. Ellison Co., Peter Lawson Jones, Recent Past Preservation Network, Richard Fleischman Architects, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Robert Maschke Architects, Inc., Process Creative Studios Inc., Jim Rokakis, Schmidt Copeland Parker Stevens with assistance from Cleveland Cinematheque, Cleveland Institute of Art, Judson Manor, The Sculpture Center, Intermuseum Conservation Association, AIA Cleveland, Kent State University Art History, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Cleveland Artists Foundation, GreenCityBlueLake, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Studio Techne Architects

more info: www.gcbl.org/green-modern

Then get out of town for a weekend and take in Marcel Breuer: Design and Architecture
November 3, 2007 - February 17, 2008 First floor galleries, National Building Museum in Washington, DC

Marcel Breuer: Design and Architecture will focus on Marcel Breuer's extraordinary achievement in furniture and interior design. At the same time, the exhibition will provide an opportunity to reintroduce Breuer's long-neglected architectural work and examine its significance in the history of modern architecture.

Developed by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany (which houses one of the most extensive and comprehensive collections of Breuer's furniture designs in the world), Marcel Breuer: Design and Architecture is the first exhibition to treat all facets of his work with equal weight from the small scale of a coffee table, through sleek residential and commercial interiors, and to large-scale buildings. The exhibition will trace the incremental development of Breuer's daring departure from traditional wood furniture and his pivotal contribution to the history of design, with the "invention" of tubular steel furniture.

Twelve models produced exclusively for this exhibition will highlight Breuer's extensive architectural work from residential homes to religious, cultural, and civic institutions. In addition, drawings, floor plans, photographs, models, video projection and interactive computer terminals will shed light on Breuer's long and varied architectural career. A catalogue with more than 450 illustrations will accompany the exhibition. The National Building Museum will be the show's exclusive North American venue.

And stay tuned: In the spring of 2008, Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative plans to hold a symposium entitled “Mid-Century Modernism: Preservation and Adaptation.” Gathering nationally prominent scholars and practitioners, this symposium will highlight the unique characteristics of the region’s and the nation’s large stock of modernist institutional buildings from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The goal of the program is to stimulate a greater appreciation for these often little-loved buildings and to examine the challenges involved in their preservation and adaptive re-use as they approach an age where they are in need of conservation and are particularly vulnerable to neglect or demolition. The results of the symposium will be disseminated electronically through the CUDC’s new web site, and the symposium will form the basis for the second issue of the CUDC’s Metropolitan Design Journal, scheduled for publication in summer 2008.
Additional information: "The United States is experiencing a building boom that rivals that of the years following World War II. According to a 2004 study by the Brookings Institution, Toward a New Metropolis: The Opportunity to Rebuild America, by the year 2030, half of the buildings in which Americans live, work and shop will have been built after 2000. Improperly managed this building boom could result in the destruction of much of our existing built environment. The study estimates that 20.1 million units of housing will be lost to demolition and that new construction will cover an area the size of Colorado."
"...there has been a tremendous increase of interest in mid-20th century culture in recent years. From television programs to product design to advertising, pop culture clearly illustrates this comeback. "Retro Modernisms" was the theme of Time Magazine's 2004 special style and design issue. Many of the people attracted to the architecture and design of this era do not consider themselves to be preservationists or are unaware of the greater preservation movement. That doesn't mean they can't be converted. Preservation organizations nationwide are capitalizing on this interest. They are coming up with innovative programs - or twists on old ones - to raise awareness and appreciation of the recent past, to preserve and protect resources, and to engage a new audience." -- Jeanne Lambin, National Trust for Historic Preservation from her book, Preserving Resources from the Recent Past

Nov 3, 07 12:08 pm  · 
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millerbowen

it's official: Cleveland Trust rotunda and Breuer for sale

Cuyahoga County selling downtown Ameritrust complex at East Ninth and Euclid - cleveland.com --It's now official that our county commissioners are intending to be more fiscally responsible and less arrogant than they were a while back. They had intended to waste an asset worth $22 million by spending something like $10 million to demolish it, and then replace it with something that had a lowball price tag on it of, I think, $175 million.

Now, they intend to sell that same $22 million asset for $35 million, which is what Tim Hagan says they have in it. I wonder what's going on here? How are the bond ratings? How are we doing with the additional sales tax increase tacked onto the last quarter of the 2007 county budget, ostensibly for a Medical Mart, but, practically, to stop the bleeding?

It should help that Susan Miller and her friends and well-wishers, and the international arts community, are currently sponsoring their Breuer appreciation fest/blitz. Raising awareness of our treasures helps. Let's hope Susan's efforts help Timmy, Jimmy, and, yes, even Peter exit the Breuer incident gracefully. We haven't yet forgotten the lessons learned and the relationships revealed during the PutItOnTheBallot campaign. It was a priceless experience, and we are hoping the Breuer building and the Cleveland Trust rotunda building benefit.

Posted by Tim Ferris at 10:55 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Labels: architecture, art, Bauhaus, Breuer, National Trust for Historic Preservation, tax credits

http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1194341996241540.xml&coll=2&thispage=2

http://gcbl.org/blog/marc-lefkowitz/11-6-07#comment-667

Know anyone who wants to own Breuer's only skyscraper?

Nov 6, 07 3:44 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

i'd like to own it but $35 million is more money than I have available at the moment.

i think i read recently that ferchill was considering it and that's encouraging given their work that I'm familiar with at detroit book-cadillac hotel renovation. and what about forrest city? aren't the ratners from cleveland?

it would also seem to be key to get a really good, progressively talented architecture firm involved in an anti-demolition project like this. i'd love to see an open minded developer partner up with an architect or firm like london's david adjaye or new york's diller scofidio renfro. that could really lead to something exceptional.

Nov 6, 07 11:09 pm  · 
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millerbowen

Ratner??? Are you kidding? They are in the same league as Jacobs!
Did you see how they trashed Cleveland's Terminal Tower to get a buck? Now they have banned students from the :mal" during after school hours! and that after the "we don;t engage our young people" shooting incident involving Asa Coons. I suggest we post on Craigslist.
I swear Dru McKeown just took down a post titled anyone got $35 mill?
Here's his latest musing: http://www.toistudio.com/blog/2007/10/ameritrust-tower-deal-goes-boom-much.html
This guy won a competition in Vancouver recently. Yep right here in beantown -- from the backroom of westlake reed leskosky... he's a pistol. let's recruit him!

Nov 6, 07 11:38 pm  · 
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bothands

Great efforts all around, for helping save this Breuer bldg for now at least, and for bringing the discussion on architecture into the light for the public.

Given all the examples of interesting conversions around, from office into hotel, condo, condo-tel, or live/work, its hard to believe a smart developer wouldn't be interested. Granted, the difference between $22 mill and $35 mill is substantial in a city with current economic challenges, but if that includes the asbestos abatement...I think the county should accept a lower offer, like $30 mill and call it a day.

Nov 8, 07 11:33 am  · 
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brian buchalski

sorry millerbowen. actually i haven't seen what they did to the terminal tower. i did catch a speech by al ratner last year and was genuinely impressed by him and because of that i thought it would at least be worth bringing up the forrest city name. anyhow, i knew that you'd have the scoop on them. do you have any thoughts on ferchill?

Nov 8, 07 12:51 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

wow...at first glance i thought that the fbi was looking to buy the building. probably better that they're just investigating the shady deals instead.

Nov 9, 07 10:58 am  · 
 · 
millerbowen

It's official (sort of) the K&D Group bought the complex. Read about it here:
http://www.gcbl.org/blog/marc-lefkowitz/developer-bids-to-reuse-breuer-ameritrust-complex
This is a wonderful thing, sort of. These guys are not known for their stand up work, but they were the only bid.

In hindsight, I should have done more, but when my brother died in November right as our series got underway, I just couldn't. We should have alerted Emporis and checked to see if it was in the MLS, we could have asked for the names of reputable developers and sent them notes that the thing was for sale. Now we'll have to try to figure out who the boutique hotelier will be and see if we might get them to make demands for a tasteful restoration of the Breuer and the Rotunda, a deal that would be based on our salvo about the proposed building to the south... More work is to be done obviously, but we're part way there.

So a big THANK YOU to all who submitted boards in July and all who advised and stayed with us through the tough months!

ElementalNYC (Carl Stein) and another architect from Albany, NY are rumored to be interested in offering assistance. Your ideas, too, are welcomed.

Jan 18, 08 9:08 am  · 
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won and done williams

congratulations, millerbowen. i think you've done plenty. without you, the project would never have gotten this far, and chances of the breuer being torn down would be far greater.

i will say though that as preservationists there is a tendency to see these buildings, in our cases both the ameritrust and the grosse pointe central library, as our babies when they in fact are not; they have a public and private life of their own. often i believe there comes a point in projects like these when you have to let them go and trust that the people who actually own or control the building will do what is best, or at least are acting with the understanding that what they own is something of worth and value, cared for by a great number of people in the public. i know nothing of the developers that bought the ameritrust, but i believe they are well aware those preservationists that fought for the building and will have those people in mind as they make decisions about its future.

Jan 18, 08 9:36 am  · 
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