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Breuer: Ameritrust Cleveland: Here we go again

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evilplatypus

it would be hard to justify the embedded energy-green argument for saving the Breuer while tearing doen it's neighbors.

Jun 25, 07 3:53 pm  · 
 · 
millerbowen

evilplatypus,
I just phoned Doug Hoffman of Weber Murphy Fox to ask for a site plan. He said he will email it to me in the morning. This will be what his firm and Davis Brody Bond worked from for the adaptive reuse plan that the two commissioners rejected. I also just received another document of interest which I will forward to puddles who is clearly more adept with this HTML stuff than I.

Jun 25, 07 3:55 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

mb - ur awesomely connected

Jun 25, 07 3:57 pm  · 
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millerbowen

No, I'm just fearless about cold calling or cold emailing or cold blogging... founded and ran an arts org back in the day -- what can I say? Thanks.

Never did get a response from the Rockefeller Brothers on my request for them to buy the Brier and remove it from harms way though...

I think we want to save as much building as possible. We are for saving energy, saving money, saving history. Oh, and not being bullied by arrogant politicians...

Jun 25, 07 4:00 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

agreed...just wanted to make sure we're on the same page since everything has been about "save breuer" so far.

Jun 25, 07 4:04 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

that site plan should be made available from mapa or the ingenuity download once its been cleaned and ready for web.

Jun 25, 07 5:14 pm  · 
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MAPA

The following discourse comes from MAPA email correspondance. In an effort to keep the greater Archinect community involved, we're copying it here, and will do our best to continue having this discussion here, on the public forum.

[email correspondance]

First, ether sent a link an article on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library which mentions the Grosse Pointe Central Library's presence on the WMF Watch List.

evilplatypus responded with the following:
that comment, "it looks like Darth Vader's summer home..." makes me laugh. I noticed most
people really do hate modernism. It seems to be enjoying a trendy comeback which will hopefully
lead to a broader appreciation. i think most people who grew up in the 50's and 60's associate
modernism with failed public policeis and view it as an aesthetic of control and rigidity. Hopefully
some fun, forward looking concepts come out of this excercise, in the spirit of breuer, to take
it to the next level.

Darth Vader comment, and other responses to the article, can be found here...

hckybg replied:
that is a shrewd analysis. i also find that people who grew up in the 50s and 60s dont necessarily appreciate what is unique about it because for them it is contemporaneous. they don't have the same distance from it as the next generation. i try to put myself in their shoes by wondering, as we now want to preserve tract homes and ranches, will the next generation want to preserve some mcmansions and subdivisions? it seems implausible, but is in some ways very comparable (this is, of course, different from wanting to preserve a building of our era that is designed by a name equal to breuer--for example, a michael graves office building--which is more comparable to the current cleveland issue).

millerbowen had this to say:
I don’t get it. Born in 1955, I am old enough to see the return of tiedye, hip huggers and even Indian moccasins, today’s clothes look just like my closet from my activist teen years when Mexican wedding shirts were the rage. Today those same folksy peasant style dresses abound in Target stores nationwide. But buildings from this era? Oh, tear them down. Where are the retro fans?


When I look at these buildings, I see Jackie Kennedy in her Chanel suit at the funeral holding the hands of her children. I feel the cool of the rectangular couch that I fell onto after a hot day of protesting the Vietnam war. I see the small boxy TV set at which I stared in disbelief when George Wallace ranted on with his bigoted racist remarks. I remember Martin Luther King and the race rebellions and many positive change initiatives. I also recall Kent State and how the movement disappeared after the 4 students were shot. We all shut up after that. We went home and became born again capitalists. These buildings tell stories about designers reacting to the population boom and the economic boomtimes that followed the war. Efficiency came from our wartime R&D (see The Fog of War – Robert McNamara). These forays into human factors engineering are close to home for me because my father was in the air force and involved with bringing that sort of thinking to the fore. Ergonomics is an off shoot, but the buildings and how efficiently they could be built seems a reflection of our desire at the time to apply military efficiency to other realms. Gone were the curlicues of past styles – not an efficient use of funds. Function drove form. This is a great example – the ticky tacky boxes Pete Seeger sang about, built with the GI bill are the other end of the spectrum. Prefab – efficiency without design principle. You want to tear down something from that era that has little design value – start with the 50s homes built by the automobile (sprawl). Return those chemical drenched grass lawns to meadow and forest!


But when I saw My Architect – the documentary on Louis Kahn, I was stunned to see how function and form could be married into something so gorgeous as his museum in Houston or his Salk Institute Building.


I guess fashion as pertains to clothes and furniture cycles faster than architecture.


and so on...

puddles:
excellent points.

regarding the criticisms that the "philistines" like
to lob, such as the building is "ugly" is just
pathetic. in an aesthetic sense i don't really see
where the nyc's world trade towers were anymore
beautiful that the breuer ameritrust tower but look at
how quickly the average man on the street embraced the
idea of rebuilding those after the terrorist struck.
as usual, taste has nothing to do with taste and is
instead politically motivated.


millerbowen:
Did I send you guys the links to the recent photos of the buildings? They
are linked here in my comment of June 21 titled photos of the Breuer inside.
Note the wonderful daylighting Breuer's windows provide. Marc Lefkowitz has
replied with a Starship Breuer comment after that.


millerbowen then shared this:



This is what was proposed by the winning team Kohn, Pedersen, Fox. Fits nicely at any interstate office park cloverleaf in a greenfield. Anyway, it is included here for considerations of site footprint. Note the Brits driving the other way on our US street grid. Must have been late at night. This image has not resurfaced since the guy who posted it lost his domain and evaporated. We knew him only as improvised schema and marveled at how many insider drawings and renderings he could get published.

[/email correspondance]




Jun 25, 07 5:34 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

one positive issue with the tower is that it's smaller floor plates up top while confining the county to the bottom could turn positive cash-flow from leasable office medium size office space up top. Law firms, in any city or county, congregate around civic buildings. Why not lease to them like in Chicago's loop district?

Jun 25, 07 5:47 pm  · 
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millerbowen

correction Kahn's museum is the Kimbell in Ft. Worth and it arose in my mind because of thinking about his concern for natural light in the building without "burning" the art -- brilliant!

Now some would say that so many of these buildings look like bunkers with their stark concrete facades, but I disagree. Rather than appearing "overdone" they have a sleek, stylish appearance to me.

I wrote about it here in a thread on another post likening the style to John Varvatos' 2007: http://realneo.us/blog/jeff-buster/pull-out-all-the-stops#comment-2863
Be sure to scroll down for my colleague's response.

Jun 25, 07 7:45 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

varvatos...wow, very nice link.

Jun 25, 07 7:54 pm  · 
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millerbowen

did you get the joke?

Jun 25, 07 10:00 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

:)

Jun 25, 07 10:32 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

“As architects, of course, we are sentimentalists,” he says. “But it is our job to be responsive to clients, to be as objective as possible.”


--Robert P. Madison on the breuer

Jun 26, 07 10:44 am  · 
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millerbowen

Robert P. Madison is as genteel and gracious a person anyone could ever desire to know. However, we are disappointed that to date none of his plans and only the rendering shown above have come forth from him or KPF for the city planning commission's and/or the public's consideration.

If they were giving us "good reason" to select this team for a new building -- such as an ohmigod this new thing is so fantastic and green and affordable that we can only say, "build it! build it! but somewhere else...", we might be swayed to support these guys as the architects of choice though we would still be demanding a different site plan for said new footprint.

It is the fact that he has joined with the county in their obfuscating non-plan that makes us all very very concerned, both for the lifespan of our Breuer and for the possibility of ending up with a poor solution wherever it is built.

http://rpmadison.com/

We are not certain of his qualifications or broad experience with green building techniques or adaptive reuse. We find it hard to swallow that as a student of Breuer's at Harvard, he is even willing to be involved in removing this structure and its history from our city's skyline. This is why we would encourage our elected leaders to know that there are many more options available to them and to him and to our citizenry and people everywhere who find enjoyment in architecture and its history.

Jun 26, 07 11:03 am  · 
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evilplatypus

I found this posted in a forum about the forthcomming demolition.....


this is Marcel Breuer talking about the site and the city as the tower was being built,

"Cleveland leaves a substantial impression. It's easy to see that this is a hard working town. The buildings are heavy, impressive. You do have some interesting landmarks here. One of the best, I believe is the old Cleveland Trust bank building that we're building on to. We preserved it beacuse it's neoclassical design would be impossible to duplicate today."

Its interesting that this tower went up with a nod to the past - it is an interesting group of buildings on that site.

Jun 26, 07 11:29 am  · 
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vado retro

re the kpf design, i woulda thought in the years following the murrow bombing in oklahoma city and 9/11 that such an expanse of glass in a government building would be frowned upon.

Jun 26, 07 11:49 am  · 
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evilplatypus

blast absorbing glass possibly - it exists

Jun 26, 07 12:08 pm  · 
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millerbowen

re the DBB proposal, the glass envelope obscures the design, but the issue of having replacement thermal windows made for the original design did come out in Hoffman's presentation. Though it has been referred to as a custom window, he said it is only custom up to a point. I haven't counted the number of windows that will need to be replaced, but there is sure economy of scale in this equation... I like it without the glass envelope. It looks more Varvatos to me with it's chic repetitive exterior -- almost like a fine weave of expensive fabric if you squint.

Jun 26, 07 1:10 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

miller - where is the best local coverage site of the day to day happenings with this tower and demolition process? I've been to the Plain Dealer, neo-reo, some blogs, etc. I'd like to get access to when the next hearing will be, where its at and whos going to be there - interesting that the selected demolition contractor is being indicted on fraud charges - can you shed some light on that topic?

Jun 26, 07 1:49 pm  · 
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millerbowen
http://www.cleveland.com/arts/

Look there for a section on all of our esteemed arts and architecture critic's coverage. The meetings of the Cleveland City Planning Commission can be found here at http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/designreview/drcagendalist.htm
Planning commission members are here:
http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/cpcMeetings.php
I believe I posted the email addresses of the CPC somewhere in this thread, if not... I'll provide them.
I hope that helps... I am having a hell of a day. Work, argh!

Jun 26, 07 2:11 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

proposed floor plan from local architect showing net to gross ratio per floor typical;



Jun 27, 07 11:33 am  · 
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evilplatypus


Jun 27, 07 11:34 am  · 
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evilplatypus


[img]http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1285/639795812_958fad8886.jpg
[/img]

Jun 27, 07 11:59 am  · 
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evilplatypus



Jun 27, 07 12:00 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

tabula rasa ^

Jun 27, 07 12:06 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

orig concept rendering showing unbuilt tower annex for which servise core is still sixed to accomadate hence the arguement the net to gross is too small for the county floor plates


Jun 27, 07 12:14 pm  · 
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...and a good reason for the proposal of a tower addition to play off the existing.

Jun 27, 07 12:15 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

I snagged this from a blog -



"Hagan responded angrily in an interview with Plain Dealer reporter Tom Breckenridge.

"This is beyond anything I've confronted in my political life," Hagan said. "An unelected group dictating to commissioners what kind of building should be built in a city where the mayor and City Council president support it. That's exactly what's wrong with the city." "

Exactly 'what is wrong with the city' is when the general population want to be properly represented by their city officials. Really crazy and awful of us, isn't it? To expect our officials to do what is best for their constituates instead of their egos seems to much of a task for our county to bear. Although what would you expect from someone who doesn't even listen to the planning department of their very own office in regards to what is best for the region?



Jun 27, 07 3:08 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

I'm amazed that 3 commissioners run a county the size of Cayahoga which contains Cleveland. That seems like an imense amount of concentrated power.


As for the tower renovetion - I can see the point of creating an anchor point for the downtown edge to spur future development. Theoreticaly from a mapview, Ive never been to Cleveland, this should be prime real estate, and could realy boom with the right project as spark. Thats prob the intention of the county.

But why hasnt private business stepped up? Where's Cleveland's Corporate players? No one wants to gamble on a rehab of that scale? To me that says Cleveland must not have the competition needed to spur one of these developers into doing something unique, different and possibly risky. Thats a shame. Like most of the rust belt, the local real estate market is prob just a page in the portfolio of some REIT based in NY or LA

Jun 27, 07 3:14 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

ouch..."just a page in the portfolio of some REIT"...those words hurt

i'm thinking one of the best scenarios would be to have a 3rd world terrorist fly an airplane into the breuer tower and destroy. this clear attack on america would probably quickly raise support for the breuer and we'd have concerned american citizens all over america telling local american television stations during interviews at all the upcoming 4th of july parades that "they're just out at the parade, waving breuer tower flags to support american troops...and hell yes we should rebuild, else they win" and soon every american town will have their own brutalist tower. anybody think that would work?

Jun 27, 07 3:57 pm  · 
 · 
evilplatypus

Sad but true Puddles -


What happened to the competition link via archinect's feature section?

Jun 27, 07 4:28 pm  · 
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AP

snide and snark aside (true as it may be)...

this situation seems to ask more for political positioning than some design proposals. i think they know what can be done...they;ve been shown that a scheme that incorporates a complimentary tower is a very feasible option. people have tried to convince them, but they would rather do something else. more than beating them over the head with the notion that the tower can stay and be part of a viable complex, the opinions of 2/3 of the commisioners need to be overpowered by some other more powerful body, or similar. if this is going to happen as an uprising (ground-up), there has to be something at the top to meet the swell half-way...otherwise you end up following the leader, like it or not.

Jun 27, 07 4:37 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

Well then it may be futile - I spent 35 min stuck in a train tunnel in Chicago's decrepit and deteriorating train system. The volume of people couldnt get out all at once. Add to that 90+F and 100% humidity. But no one got outwardly mad, and the event wasnt even on the news. The Chicagoan will just keep paying for criminals to tell them how its gonna be, and they'll just take it. Insert <your city> here and its the same thing in Cleveland.

Jun 27, 07 4:40 pm  · 
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AP

i'm not quite so pessimistic...just calling it like i see it.

Jun 27, 07 4:43 pm  · 
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evilplatypus

the sad part I meant was the comment about the city's real estate players are prob all from the coasts

Jun 27, 07 4:45 pm  · 
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millerbowen

I have been working on other things today and just got to the computer to see today's discussion. Power in Cleveland -- interesting topic. A little background here.
Richard E. Jacob's Group (based here in Cleveland) sprawlmonger extraordinaire. (http://www.rejacobsgroup.com/) read it and weep for Dick. He owned this property and was too busy grabbing pristine land along the outer belt and mowing down forests and some deer's backyard and getting the fed and state DOT to put in an interchange that he couldn't find anyone to rent the tower -- the Breuer -- the one he turned his back on in the central city. I mean it is so much nicer near lilt white Beachwood where you don't have to drive through the doughnut of poverty that has now to totally engulfed the decayed downtown. Cleveland was the birthplace of the industrial revolution -- the confluence of the Cuyahoga was blasted out to create an expedient way for commerce to connect with the Ohio and Erie Canal which traveled 110 miles through Ohio to the Ohio and then to the Mississippi and the Gulf. This opened commerce to the west.

Rockefeller began his business here and Euclid Avenue was home to millionaires who made their fortunes from innovation and manufacturing; the electric light, the first wind turbine, the gas mask and many others. All that manufacturing and steel making and the salt mines and the shipping required labor, so all those slaves who traveled the underground railroad came through Oberlin and Cleveland and some of them stayed here. More immigrants came to escape the Great War and more came as a result the civil rights movement -- but right then when you had a burgeoning city teeming with blue collar workers, they rose up (and not for Lebron James), they rebelled and rightfully so. Most of the immigrant white neighborhoods were panicky already, but after the Hough riots (1960s DNC Chicago), the white flight sucked just about every middle income family to the suburbs.

So the city is left with poor people at the core, lots of deteriorating wooden housing stock painted with premium high-lead content Sherwin Williams paint (also headquartered and manufactured here) and their children were lead poisoned. These poor people's kids did not do well and were "left behind" by schools that were under-funded to deal with so many lead poisoned and therefore permanently learning disabled kids. Lead poisoning also causes aggressive behavior, and the neighborhoods got rougher and rougher as poverty and isolation pushed in on them.

Corporations left -- Diamond Shamrock, NCR, Sohio built their headquarters on the Public Square and then sold out to BP who held it for a couple of years and then moved out -- the internet ecards subsumed American Greetings, the Japanese took over the steel business. Those are the highlights. We're not talking Grosse Point here -- we're talking the poorest city in the nation with the nation's highest # of lead poisoned children, the highest foreclosure rates and a huge number of cars like Detroit; cars that can drive fast -- away from the problems, to an ever widening circle of sprawl.

The Cuyahoga River, once a gateway to the west and prosperity burned in 1969 sparking the Clean Water Act and causing the creation of the EPA. You're welcome... The term brownfield was coined here in our county. Cleveland was asleep lulled by the excitement of a moneyed few, until one day, like Rumplestilkin, the people woke up and realized that poor planning (or no planning) and greedy politicians had not only pulled the rug out from under us, but aided by the developers and the Department of Transportation, they had stripped out all the plumbing and removed and fenced the siding as well. You are right about the real estate players. We got 'em here though because they can live here and have an easy commute a low low cost of living –elegant surroundings in their outlying lovely multi-million dollar estates. They even have their own airport right on the lakefront downtown so they can easily jet off to wherever their new shopping center is being constructed on some other city's outer belt. And they have got the politicians by the shorthairs apparently.

Jun 27, 07 11:23 pm  · 
 · 
millerbowen

The city has caved in on itself and the power brokers are flailing like drowning men. The LAST thing they need to do is tear down the building built by Marcel Breuer!!!!! There is oodles of land that could provide a spark. The government needs to regionalize – the city needs to annex the inner-ring and assess what’s here before we go off half cocked and apply some freakin’ expensive band aid labeling it with the trendy “green built” tag. Obviously they are not designers of anything except the insides of their wallets and the patinas on their mirrors. They haven’t designed a way out of poverty; they have ignored the architect of equity planning, our own Norman Krumholz who showed the way back in the 70s. They continue to fail to listen to local economic development experts who have worked in ED worldwide and come home to help their native stomping grounds. Jeez! What have these guys done right? Not much and they will surely be ejected by voters in the next election cycle.

What can you do? (Cause we have a lot to do that you can’t.) You can show them that the building is better suited to another use to spark business development in that location. It could be residential; it could house art and design offices for local university programs. It is in the financial district but close enough to the newly developing district of design that it could anchor those university-fed programs and districts in the marketplace. It could become a provide studio space for designers and offices for the businesses that help young designers bring their idea to market. Cleveland Institute of Art graduates many of today’s top designers; they leave Cleveland to work in top firms on the coasts. Cleveland State University has one of the top rated colleges of Urban Studies in the nation; Kent State University has a forward thinking School of Architecture and Environmental Design (looking to move their grad program to the city of Cleveland). The combination of these entities in one building could drive innovation to a new level and offer showrooms and provide bird’s eye views for young planners and architects. You can try to meet the stated goals of the county administration building or you can say to them, “scrap this building for that idea and put something else here.” As Dorothy Parker said to Robert Benchley, “Let’s go wild tonight.” Think outside this exquisite box built by Marcel and dream the inside and outside any way you want. We need to show them that there is another way and most importantly we need to let them know that the world is watching, not just us knee-capped Cuyahoga County taxpayers. Toss out some brilliant ideas – make their heads spin. Make the pages of the NYTimes with your fabulous solutions! You are on a roll with saving main street modernism. You have begun a revolution in Grosse Point, but Cleveland is the toughest nut to crack. If eyes on Cleveland can make these guys sit up and take notice we might be able to turn this train around and avoid another calamitous mistake on the lake. Right now, pencils poised, we beg you to do your damndest to shine a light on Breuer’s only skyscraper. We have a gem and we don’t want to lose it to greed and shortsightedness… Thank you for engaging with us on this Sisyphean effort.

Jun 27, 07 11:28 pm  · 
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millerbowen

Check out this nearby development http://districtofdesign.com/geography.html
note how the southwest corner of the border on the map sections off the footprint of the district as it intersects the county's planned site. The border is the exact footprint of the demo and rebuild project Hagan and Dimora propose -- does that have to mean that there will be no design there? Well currently that's what we're seeing. I urge you to fill in that blank -- close that gap. Make Marcel proud!

Jun 27, 07 11:39 pm  · 
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brian buchalski

oh boy...i'm probably not talented enough to make marcel proud...but there are some talented people reading this so hopefully they'll feel compelled to contribute.

Jun 28, 07 9:44 am  · 
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evilplatypus

miller - any luck on getting that floor plan cad file? Good base materials are key to getting good turn out in competitions

and what happened to the link from the archinect?

Jun 28, 07 12:27 pm  · 
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clamfan

Are there prizes involved or is this free ideas from the goodness of our hearts?

Jun 28, 07 12:46 pm  · 
 · 
millerbowen
clamfan

Have you ever tried a Cleveland Steamer?

Jun 28, 07 3:21 pm  · 
 · 
millerbowen

what's a cleveland steamer?

Jun 29, 07 1:04 am  · 
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evilplatypus

Dont answer that - its a trap.


Miller - did u get the cad files? If not send me the TIF files and I can trace them - better than nothing

Jun 29, 07 9:14 am  · 
 · 
millerbowen

the files are too big to be emailed. If you email me an address I can pick them up and mail them but it may be too late. Doug Hoffman hasn't answered the email about uploading to an FTP site.

This morning the City Planning Commission voted to allow the demo. Thanks for your letters. The vote was 5-2. However the fat lady has not sung yet. The BOCC (County guys) have to have the money. Do they? This remains to be seen because they also just threatened a regressive 1/4 cent sales tax increase. We will work on getting the contractor moved through the justice system in Lorain County and maybe that will stir things up again -- now with more politicians wearing the egg face mask. I am, along with many others, are sickened today.

The blogs report: http://www.gcbl.org/blog/marc-lefkowitz/breuer-thats-a-wrap#comment-467 page 2
http://timferris.blogspot.com/2007/06/innumeracy-running-rampant-in-pd.html
http://realneo.us/blog/johnmcgovern/taxpayers-protest-county-commissioners-spending-32-million-to-create-empty-lot#comment-3680


Ingenuity reportedly has many plans, many more than they imagined would be submitted, keep 'em coming even if they are conceptual and not specific with details. Madison-KPF's plan is nowhere near done either despite the addle pated decision this morning.



Jun 29, 07 4:21 pm  · 
 · 
brian buchalski

the planning commission vote is disappointing news.

but it is good to hear that the ingenuity open call is getting a strong response. i'll be devoting some of my weekend to a proposal...although i'm still not sure what exactly i'm going to propose...

Jun 29, 07 4:30 pm  · 
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millerbowen

On today's ridiculous decision by the CPC:
http://www.toistudio.com/blog/2007/06/plain-dealer-offers-fact-and-fiction-up.html

Jun 30, 07 1:30 am  · 
 · 
evilplatypus

I wish I would have checked this thread over the weekend. why did they do the vote in emergency session - to avoid public spotlight?

Does the poulation of Cuyahoga County realize they own this tower? Or does the poulation want it torn down?

i've been going around various Cleveland oriented blogs and even though the artistic merit of it being the only breur tower is well represented - the financial concern among people is striking - they seem to notice its a lot of wasted money yet nothing gets done? From some of the commentary in the Plain Dealer it appears the whole county structure of 3 commissioners has been an issue for decades! Anyways - no offense but Cleveland sounds sort of backwards - Every architect knows you can get a LEEDS building out of essentially an empty concrete shell. The points are in the embodied energy - the new glazing and new mechanical system it will need anyways. As for the floor plates being too small, I'd love to see an efficiancy impact study of putting all your government workers on big floors - the next thing they'll complain about is being to far from the stairs for their fat asses to get to in a fire.

Jul 2, 07 6:07 pm  · 
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millerbowen

yes, Cuyahoga County and Cleveland are backwards. that's why we are the poorest city in the nation. Yes they realize what they have and they realize that it is a waste, but they want the new building -- I swear someone is getting paid.

We do have another Breuer -- the Cleveland Museum of Art, built the same year. Vinloy gave the nod by continuing the horizontal stripe of the facade. http://www.clevelandart.org/educef/cmabuilds/html/

the county commissioner who voted against this emailed and said it is not over yet, so there is hope. the ingenuity show should bring attention and now we have to slam the commissioners to change their minds. we can not let them have the tax increase and that might slow things down for a while.

Jul 2, 07 6:47 pm  · 
 · 

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