CIA brings hip headline act to Archifest Cleveland 2010 - hard acts to follow

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 15:08.


In what represents significant progress with a very positive trend, the Cleveland Institute of Art has announced their selection of one of the world's most respected hip young architecture firms, MVRDV, to design the new campus for CIA. Based out of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the new CIA design will be MVRDV's first work in North America. Add this to the selection by MOCA of Foreign Office Architects of London, for their new museum and we have two of the hot creative properties in the world focusing their best efforts on two of NEO's most important institutions and design projects, both located within strolling distance in the University Circle redevelopment area called "The Triangle." 

Having looked at the websites of both firms, it is clear we can expect very innovative outcomes from these projects, and they will have very positive impacts on the pride and reputation of the community, not to mention quality of life. Steven Litt wrote a great article on the CIA decision in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, here... it really captures the excitement building around University Circle, quoting David Deming, president of the art institute, saying "This has been my dream since the day I arrived here" nine years ago.

Of course we have some other interesting contemporary architecture in University Circle, and that is part of its identity. I hope we see continue this trend toward making Cleveland a world leader in the exhibition of innovative architecture.


MVRDV several years back produced a book titled Regionmaker.  The book was brought to my attention via Bill Scheele who presented during some of the very first colloquia at REI Tuesdays.  Bill initially saw the book at a book store on the West Coast, and purchased it because of the book’s unique use of dual languages (Dutch on the left page, English on the right hand page) and the use of binding the book together with different colored pages ( to distinguish the different chapters)  When I read through the book I told Ed Morrison that Regionmaker included a  thesis  confirming (with mathematical precision) Mr. Morrison’s “Quality Connected Spaces” economic stimulation philosophy.   Bill’s  newCAT  (interesting that MVRDV was under discussion in 2004 at REI, while it just hit the radar with CIA in 2007) was itself an effort to improve the local technology economy through expertise in digital art.   But back to MVRDV - if MVRDV designs their CIA University Circle job with the same high level of  innovation with which they designed their Regionmaker book - then we will have unique and stimulating architecture here in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy NL Architects

Another Dutch architectural firm with very interesting ideas is NL . Not only do they have the most grandly understated website I have ever seen, (make sure you click on the NL to visit their site – they don’t boast about themselves, they let Google do it for them – very cool), their  Basket  Bar  Cafe  in Utrecht is a concept that should be franchised.  Imagine if Duncan Donuts hosted a basketball court above every one of their donut outlets! 

I love NL

I was at the Dutch architecture forum at CSU last year and loved what NL presented, and agree with you about the basketball roof! I also think the Dutch architects andf planners presenting here grasped the potential of Cleveland very well (develop around the river) - we need more of this level of outside expert insight collaborating and innovating here, and I strongly support the choices of architects of both MoCA and CIA.

Disrupt IT

ah the interconnectedness

When I saw this, I thought of when I met Martha and Jeff, Norm, Ed et al at REI. Then because I was a latecomer to the process (jeez, I almost missed the whole REI thing), Martha introduced me to Bill Scheele during the 2006 Ingenuity Fest.

Going back through the links in this post and the one behind it, I noticed how we (Bill and I) are interconnected with ideas and images.

At Ingenuity 2006, Bill presented and I met a video artist Lawrence Gartel. We beagn discussing dance and video and I told him about presenting Merce Cunningham back in the day and how Merce was so engaged his handler had to get the hook, because he would have gone on talking to the students until day break, when Lawrence said he had just seen Merce at the unfortunate event of the funeral of Nam June Paik, days before. Jeez, it is so rare that you run into someone in Cleveland who has ever heard of Merce, let alone is his personal acquaintance.

Bill's newCAT image is similar to the post I made a day before I met him one year later. I had not seen this post. I was not on the Ingenuity radar in 05 -- out of town.

Check out how similar they are...
and you can go here to see the video dance that this image represents...

So much content here and so much interconnectedness.