Preserving Our Built Environment
Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Steven Litt says County is going wrong way and must stop and consider other prospects
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 09/20/2006 - 01:16.
Cleveland Plain Dealer Architecture Critic Steven Litt is really stepping up to lead the march for a better designed Cleveland, as he has been the lone mainstream voice for intelligent redevelopment of the I-90 bridge and is the lone voice at all for saving the landmark Breuer Cleveland Trust Building on East 9th, between Euclid and Prospect, which for 15 years Jacobs demolished by neglect and now Cuyahoga County Commissioners want to demolish by force, all to build a replacement building for their offices, at great cost to taxpayers... this is the Jacobs Coast Guard Station fiasco X 1000, and community leaders are letting this one slide too.
While many leadership critics debate the wisdom of the commissioners buying the property in the first place - and challenge the premium they paid Jacobs in what can only be called a bail-out - only Architecture critic Litt has stepped up to defend the building itself as an important modernist statement for the world. As he says, in his 09/19/06 column in the PD, "The three Cuyahoga County Commissioners soon could decide to pull down a 29-story downtown office tower by Marcel Breuer to make way for a new county administrative center. That would be tragic and wasteful for a city with a limited supply of historic buildings worth saving from any period. In this case, apathy over mid-20th-century Modernist architecture is playing a huge role. Debate over the Breuer tower has been absolutely anemic."
I agree completely with Litt and suggest we all follow his advice, that "Public should speak up before tower comes down". Clearly, the Commissioners bought the Jacobs property for the lovely Rotunda... who wouldn't want to work in such an obviously beautiful building... I'm sure that is why Jacobs bought it too... ego tripping. What none of them seem to understand is art and architecture, beyond the obvious. This is one reason I am very skeptical about supporting the bid to raise takes from smoking to pay for arts... who decides what is worthy art. If it is these commissioners, they are spending taxpayer money destroying important art, and must be stopped rather than enriched. I feel the Breuer Building makes a statement about Cleveland at its peak, when the powerful Cleveland Trust Company that George Gund had grown and chaired brought great modern art and architecture to this mid-west town. How far Cleveland has descended since the days of George Gund.