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Accidentally Wes Anderson Tours Cleveland: Our Highlights

“Home to the second largest theater district in the U.S., its venues rival any of which you will find in New York City.” Tour some of our projects in Cleveland through the lens of our friends at .

Terminal Tower

Built in 1926, Cleveland’s historic Terminal Tower anchors Public Square and serves as a node for public transportation, retail, entertainment, and commerce. A portion of the tower has been re-imagined as residential apartments, contributing to the revitalization of housing in downtown Cleveland. 91Ʋ’s design respects Terminal Tower’s storied history while bringing new life to tired office spaces by renovating them into luxury with views overlooking Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline. We worked with the State Historic Preservation Office to document the proposed changes and preserve and restore key elements of the tower. Follow the link to learn more about the building’s original function – and it’s current status.

Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse

Looking up at ornate orthogonal ceiling detailed with floral medallions, roman phrases, cornice edging, and offset chandelier

Ceiling detail at Howard M Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse. Photo by Kevin G. Reeves.

Constructed between 1905 and 1910 in the Beaux Arts style, the Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse is one of the country’s finest legacies treasured for its lavish spaces, exquisite murals, and finely detailed ornamentation. A National Historic Landmark structure, the building is one of the most significant landmarks in downtown Cleveland and is a key element anchoring the economic revival of the central core of the city. The award-winning 235,632-SF rehabilitation was the first adaptive re-use project in the GSA’s inventory to achieve LEED-NC certification. The project was part of a Solid Waste Reduction pilot program developed in collaboration with Cuyahoga County. Aggressive waste reduction was incorporated into all phases of the project, resulting in the recycling of more than 4,000 tons of material, 70 % of all waste produced by the project. Under GSA’s Fine Arts Program, 35 murals depicting the history and development of mail delivery and executed in 1911 by American artist Francis Davis Millet (1846-1912), were conserved, restored, and reinstalled.

to learn which turn-of-the-century planning movement inspired the original design.


Playhouse Square

Theater seen from the side over the audience with large arch shaped windows. The stage is empty and stage right can be seen

Allen Theatre Complex at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. Photo by Kevin G. Reeves.

In downtown Cleveland at Playhouse Square lies a group of 1920s theaters that were saved from demolition in the 1970s and redeveloped over the past four decades to create a vibrant arts and entertainment district. Using our master plan as a roadmap, our firm designed the initial restoration and reopening of the Palace, State, and Ohio Theatres, which made Playhouse Square a top tour spot for Broadway producers.

We adapted an adjacent historic commercial building for Idea Center, an integrated broadcast media, performing arts, and education facility and new home for the local affiliates of National Public Radio and Public Television, and Playhouse Square Foundation’s arts education programs. We renovated the Hanna Theatre, sensitively converting its 1,400-seat house into an intimate 560-seat proscenium/thrust stage for repertory theater. At the Allen Theatre, we inserted a new 512-seat proscenium theater within the volume of the existing 3,080-seat movie palace and developed two new venues – a 300-seat multi-form theater and a 150-seat black box – in new construction. The complex is shared by the Tony Award-winning Cleveland Play House and Cleveland State University’s Theatre Department. And we completed a new 30-year master plan for the District in 2014, resulting in several additional projects such as the re-creation of the Ohio Theatre’s historic lobby and recent renovations to the seating, box office, and back of house areas in the Key Bank State Theatre.

Follow the link for more on our revitalization of Playhouse Square.

Gartner Auditorium at Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art needed to re-imagine, re-tune, and upgrade its existing 683-seat auditorium while honoring the original 1971 design by renowned Modernist architect Marcel Breuer. A re-design of walls, ceilings, and stage provides maximum flexibility, variable acoustics, lighting, and technical positions responding to varied performance conditions, including amplified music, film and lectures, dance, and chamber music. The renovation preserves the original wood wainscot, interprets Breuer’s composition and material palette, and corrects the negative acoustical impact of the original design through use of new materials and acoustical shaping. A new, more transparent batten and scrim system replaces the original Breuer design of the sidewalls and a new ceiling plane, consisting of sound-transparent expanded metal panels with strategically placed acoustic reflectors and diffusers, replaces the original wood batten ceiling. The ceiling was largely altered to be “acoustically transparent” to capture the acoustic volume above the visual ceiling plane.

to learn more about the centerpiece of the auditorium.

Mixon Hall at Cleveland Institute of Music

a piano on a recital stage against a floor to ceiling wall of gridded windows flanked by wooden paneled acoustic walls

Mixon Hall at Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland. Photo by Accidentally West Anderson.

Located in University Circle in the heart of the city’s Cultural District, the Cleveland Institute of Music consists of an original structure from the 1950s and a renovation and expansion that serves CIM’s vision as a center of education for 21st century musicians. The Fred A. Lennon Education Building (north addition), designed for the express purpose of music education, provides the ability to connect its students via interactive videoconference with K-12 learners across the nation. The new Performance Wing (south addition), includes Mixon Hall, a state-of-the-art recital space that offers high-tech recording and broadcasting capabilities, serving as one of the region’s superlative facilities and positioning CIM among an elite group of a premier music schools throughout the world.

to see how the institute measures across national music conservatories.

Severance Hall

An intimate theater with a gold ceiling and crystal pendant lights. Tapestries and candelabra adorn walls and recital stage.

Severance Hall in Cleveland. Photo by Kevin G. Reeves.

Opened in 1931, Severance Hall is home to the Cleveland Orchestra, and has been recognized locally and nationally for its architectural and historical significance. Our master plan for the Musical Arts Association, the umbrella organization for the Cleveland Orchestra, includes assessment of site conditions, infrastructure, and phased improvements to Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, and Reinberger Chamber Hall, a 400-seat venue within Severance Hall that provides an intimate space for smaller musical performances, lectures, and events. The Reinberger Chamber Hall renovation transformed an underutilized projection booth at the rear of the audience chamber into an ADA patron box. A portion of wall that was removed to accommodate the box was faced with a historic mural. The mural was carefully restored, “extended,” digitally reproduced, and printed on canvas for reinstallation in the new box. The existing carpeted stair nosings were dyed in contrasting colors to provide a visual reference for patron safety, and a disused shaftway adjacent to the chamber hall was utilized for insertion of a vertical platform lift for wheelchair access. Overall, our design enhances accessibility and the patron experience, while adhering to Severance’s historical character.

to learn more about the venue.


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