Expansion and Renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art has recently announced plans for a major architectural initiative of renovation and expansion. A Facilities Master Plan, developed in 1999 by the architecture and urban design firm of Cooper, Robertson & Partners, calls for a 26 percent increase in overall space from 389,000 square feet to 491,000. Gallery space is to be increased 22 percent, including a doubling of space for contemporary works, completely new galleries for the museum\’s renowned Asian collection, and 6,000 additional square feet for its Western art collections.The museum\’s plans, the first undertaking of its kind in nearly 30 years, will involve a major new structure as well as extensive renovations on the museum\’s original 1916 Beaux-Arts building and its three subsequent additions, dating from 1958, 1970 (by Marcel Breuer), and 1983.The announcement from the Cleveland Museum of Art arrives amid a current debate over the role of cultural institutions in the economic revival of cities. Aging industrial centers as far flung as North Adams, Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey and Bilbao, Spain, have invested heavily in new visual and performing arts institutions as engines for redevelopment. The Cleveland Museum\’s renovation and expansion will take place within the context of a major urban planning project entailing the redevelopment of Euclid Avenue, one of Cleveland\’s main arteries, and its terminus, University Circle, which is also the museum\’s locale. The museum\’s plans will thereby serve as a case study in the critical discourse over such issues as cultural tourism and the commercial potential of cultural endeavors.GSD students will be given the opportunity to examine the architectural, cultural, social and economic aspects of a large-scale, high-profile project in the early stages of development. From these multiple perspectives, and from first-hand interaction with museum management and city planners, they will develop design research proposals incorporating a hypothetical new structure, a renovation strategy and an urban plan. The purpose of the proposals will be to transform the existing museum complex into a new organizational unit based on its artistic, cultural and educational uses. They will address the space and preservation priorities of the current museum collection, and will build upon the existing infrastructure of the surrounding urban area to create a multi-functional, activity-oriented site. The latest advances in building technology will be explored, and the structure\’s interior spaces – lobby, galleries, gift shop, cafi and rest rooms – will be examined to balance the visitor\’s need for private contemplation of cultural artifacts with the social interaction inherent in a public space.Structure of Option Studio:GSD students will travel to Cleveland for two days in late September. Activities will include a tour of museum facilities with museum management; a review of the Master Plan drawn up by Cooper, Robertson & Partners; site documentation; a review of the University Circle and Euclid Avenue development plans with Cleveland city planners; and a tour of two masterworks recently added to Cleveland\’s cityscape: Frank Gehry\’s Peter B. Lewis Building of the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management, currently under construction, and I. M. Pei\’s Rock + Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.Pedagogic Objectives:The option studio is to address architecture\’s ability to resolve complex spatial and social issues through a process of inquiry designed to match every facet of a project\’s program to a comprehensive system of formal invention and strategic planning. The multiple perspectives inherent in this project will be demonstrated through the development of proposals for a re-energized, urban-based, community-centric museum addition.Completion Requirements:The required time is consistent with option studios.<