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Cleveland: Natural History Museum Renovation and Expansion

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Museum aims to evolve into more exciting place

 

Dinosaur greeter, displays that say touch me' Natural history exhibits would change radically

 

Friday, July 21, 2006

John Mangels and Evelyn Theiss

Plain Dealer Reporters

 

Ready to tour the revamped Cleveland Museum of Natural History? Director Bruce Latimer can't wait to show you around.

 

To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:

 

jmangels@plaind.com, 216-999-4842

 

etheiss@plaind.com, 216-999-4542

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"Gone are the tired dioramas and stuffed animals frozen behind glass."

 

Call me a nerd but I love the dioramas!

 

I wonder how easy it's going to be for these guys to raise so much money.

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I think the majority of the expense will go towards the parking garage. They are going to eliminate the surface parking that faces Wade Oval.

 

Again, I wish that they could work with the other institutions to build joint parking structures. CMA is building a new garage just across Jeptha. I know that they prefer to have their patrons walk straight into their own buildings, but it would be better for the Circle if parking was consolidated.

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"Gone are the tired dioramas and stuffed animals frozen behind glass."

 

Call me a nerd but I love the dioramas!

 

I wonder how easy it's going to be for these guys to raise so much money.

 

Me too!!

 

I think the majority of the expense will go towards the parking garage. They are going to eliminate the surface parking that faces Wade Oval.

 

Again, I wish that they could work with the other institutions to build joint parking structures. CMA is building a new garage just across Jeptha. I know that they prefer to have their patrons walk straight into their own buildings, but it would be better for the Circle if parking was consolidated.

 

I was thinking the same thing.  We should write Chris R and see if we can have an impact.  It would be nice to have a rail line up Hough right into wade oval, even if ti only went between 55/Univ. Circle

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[A Plain Dealer article without link was replaced with this press release that has most of the same information]

This is a great sign of things to come for the museum. I am glad they will incorporate green building standards.

 

News Release

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History Receives $6.2 million Gift from Anonymous Donor

 

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2006

 

Contact:

Glenda Bogar, ext. 3363, gbogar@cmnh.org

or Marie Graf, ext. 3270

(216) 231-4600, 800-317-9155

 

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History received a gift of stock that transferred at a value of more than $6.2 million from an anonymous donor. This is the largest single donation the Museum has received and represents the lead gift for an anticipated renovation project.

 

Museum Executive Director Dr. Bruce Latimer, said, “In my time at the Museum, I have seen a great outpouring of generosity. This is a gift of extraordinary size for us. Knowing that we have a supporter who cares this deeply for the work we do and dedicated staff that does this work is very gratifying.”

 

The Museum is in the early planning stages for a major redevelopment of the permanent exhibits and the way it presents natural history. This project entails an expansion and renovation of the Museum, which will provide visitors with activities that will immerse them into natural science and evolution. Latimer said, “Among our concerns with the present galleries is that visitors cannot experience the breadth of science that actually takes place at the Museum. In addition to revamping the galleries, the Museum is planning additional exhibit space, a new Museum Store, new café and café patio, along with a new parking garage. “A key element to the visitor experience is a message about conservation and sustainability,” Latimer pointed out.

 

The anonymous donor said, “I can think of no better use for these assets than giving them to an institution about which I care so deeply. I considered leaving this in my estate but then realized that it would be so much more enjoyable to actually see it put to work in these ways.”

 

The Museum has been involved in conservation work since it was founded in 1920.

 

For example, Latimer said, “Over the last 50 years, the Museum has established a diversified Natural Areas program that is unique in the country. The Museum now owns around 31 nature preserves totally more than 3,900 acres in Northeast Ohio.” The Museum stewardship focuses on protecting the integrity of these properties and using selected sites for both classes and conducting long-term scientific studies.

 

Latimer said this lead gift will help create a marvelous gallery that brings together the Museum’s many programs on conservation and will provide a way for visitors to see how they can make a difference locally and globally.

 

A significant portion of the gift will fund an endowment directed toward staff compensation. “The donor’s close relationship with the Museum has led to the long-held belief that the Museum should be heralded for balancing its budget for 29 straight years, but it also should find ways to reward hard-working employees,” explained Latimer. “Details as to how this endowment income will be utilized are yet to be worked out.”

 

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History fosters an understanding of the natural world and serves as an outstanding resource for public education and environmental conservation for the region and beyond. The Museum is considered one of the finest natural science museums in North America, noted for its collections, research, exhibits and educational programs. The collections encompass more than 4 million specimens and research focuses on 11 natural science disciplines.  In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum has three galleries for changing and traveling exhibits, an observatory and planetarium, a Discovery Center, an outdoor wildlife area showcasing Ohio's native flora and fauna, live animal shows, special events, lecture series, a Museum store and café.

 

The Museum is located at 1 Wade Oval Drive in University Circle, 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland. For more information, call (216) 231-4600 or 800-317-9155. Also, visit our web site at www.cmnh.org.

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[A Plain Dealer article without link was replaced with this press release that has most of the same information]

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Glenda Bogar, ext. 3363, gbogar@cmnh.org

or Marie Graf, ext. 3270

(216) 231-4600, 800-317-9155

 

Cleveland Museum of Natural History Selects Architectural firm

 

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce the selection of Fentress Bradburn Architects Ltd. of Denver, Colorado, as the architect of record for Phase 1 of its renovation/expansion project. Phase 1 will include: evaluation of site concerns regarding existing infrastructure and utilities and future needs; assessing design elements and selection of building materials; conducting preliminary code reviews; developing conceptual floor plans and building elevation; and, preparing cost estimates and rough construction schedules for fundraising purposes.

 

The Fentress Bradburn museum design team has designed 26 museums and galleries totaling more that 2 million square feet and over $500,000,000 in construction value. Their projects include: The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia; The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming; The Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts; The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City; The Denver Museum of Nature and Science; California Department of Education Headquarters in Sacramento; Denver International Airport; and, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea. Fentress Bradburn has a history of designing buildings that are unique to their location and create memorable images.

 

A Museum Architectural Review Committee (consisting of Museum Trustees, staff and area experts) established the process by which the firm was selected. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was sent to 53 firms in July 2006. Each of these firms had met the initial set of criteria: experience in museum design, specifically with collections-based museums; commitment to, and proven experience with, sustainable design principles and applications; evidence of strong client relationships with a team-oriented approach to design and construction; and a record of effective and time efficient completion of similar projects. 26 firms responded to the RFQ. The committee reviewed the responses and invited six of the firms to submit a proposal for the project. During December 2006, each of the six firms visited the Museum to meet with key staff and committee members. Proposals were submitted by December 24, 2006. During January and February 2007, the six architectural firms made presentations to Museum Trustees, the Architecture Committee and key staff members.

 

A criteria matrix was developed to assist in the final selection process. These criteria were: achievements in landmark architecture; how well the firm could help the Museum achieve its vision for the project; experience in museum design; experience in sustainable design; experience in master planning; history of project delivery on time and on budget; and, how they interact with and respond to staff and Trustees. The committee decided unanimously to recommend Fentress Bradburn Architects Ltd. to the Board of Trustees of the Museum. At its meeting on March 13, 2007, the Museum’s Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the selection as well.

 

Fred Floyd, the chair of the Architectural Review Committee, said, “Fentress Bradburn did the best job of meeting our criteria. They were extremely well-prepared in their presentation and had done the best work understanding who we are, what our mission is and why we do what we do – they incorporated this knowledge into their proposal. As a scientific and academic institution, we also appreciate their scientific approach to set up design criteria – they leave nothing to chance.”

 

The renovation/expansion plan for the Museum had its genesis in 2002 as part of an overall strategic planning process. The vision for the future of the Museum is to transform the way it presents natural history – making it more relevant to the visitor by highlighting the research and collections of the Museum. Another important element in the project is to create a “green” building that would be used to educate and inspire the visitor to implement sustainable practices in their own lives.

 

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is located at 1 Wade Oval Drive in University Circle. It attracts 250,000 visitors per year.

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Well that really sucks.  Westlake Reed Leskosky had a very intriguing proposal for the Natural History Museum, and I'm thinking they were the ones that had the fully conceptualized models and renderings.  From the looks of it, this Denver firm hasn't done anything interesting in their "27 years of architecture for people."  How lame.

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And can Steven Litt have an opinion for once?  All he does is report architecture occurrences, why does he never get his hands dirty in taking a side?

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And can Steven Litt have an opinion for once?  All he does is report architecture occurrences, why does he never get his hands dirty in taking a side?

 

Huh? Steve's articles, more often that not, offer a strong opinion.

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This is going to be a significant project because of CMNH's relationship to Wade Oval, CBG, CMA, and the E. 105 & MLK intersection... each of which have either just had millions spent on their renovation/expansion or are about to see millions spent.

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^^^The Denver firm won because they aren't from Cleveland in all likelyhood.

 

^^Litt should be a little more aggressive in the way he states his opinions.  Why didn't he get into comparisons between the 3 firms?  Inform the reader that the Museum made the right choice or not.  A representative for the museum could have written this article just as easily as Ohio's only paid architecture critic.  I finish reading his articles with more questions than answers about the firms involved.

He is also totally out of touch with the strides this city is making overall, although this is the first article of his that hasn't been prefaced with the "in a city that is losing population and jobs..." bullshite that he usually spews.

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I just looked through the Fentress Bradburn portfolio. Although I am disappointed in Westlake not winning the bid, CNHM did not make a bad decision. The firms work is very inspiring. I like how many of their building use the natural surrounding areas for their structures. I have to admit though, I've always hated Denver Airport.

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^the new Denver Airport?! Its so cool. I love the interiors of the concourses-all the natural stone and the soaring atriums.

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I admit.

I've only seen the outside and not in pictures.

It's just personal taste. But based on their other work and fine use of natural items, I bet it is cool looking in person.

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I admit.

I've only seen the outside and not in pictures.

It's just personal taste. But based on their other work and fine use of natural items, I bet it is cool looking in person.

 

that airport reminds me of being in a big tent!  this is suppose to be an airport, not a circus tent!!!

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This seems one of the few Litt pieces that runs like more of a traditional news article than a critic column.  I think Litt is knowledgeable and sparks discussion on key development proposals that too often muddle in the shadows.  Occasionally, though, his 'Cleveland's to unsophisticated to get it' posture is esoteric, snobby and counterproductive.  And like any artist, he's extremely fussy about what architecture he deems worthy while at times, imho, focuses way too much in form over function in trashing very important projects: case in point, the CWRU new north side dorm project whose faux Gothic style never ceases sending Steve into an absolute tizzy.

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That's because Case's new dorms are the most ridiculously uninspiring buildings ever constructed.  Gothic architecture was interesting in the 1600's because it was stretching the structural capabilites of the time.  Simply pasting a faux gothic facade is a slap in the face to gothic architecture and shows how lazy some architects are.

"Oh, the building next door is gothic, let's copy off of that."

That's not how a design process should go.

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That's because Case's new dorms are the most ridiculously uninspiring buildings ever constructed.  Gothic architecture was interesting in the 1600's because it was stretching the structural capabilites of the time.  Simply pasting a faux gothic facade is a slap in the face to gothic architecture and shows how lazy some architects are.

"Oh, the building next door is gothic, let's copy off of that."

That's not how a design process should go.

 

I really like the new dorms. Are they really gothic, though? I don't see a single gothic arch. Many of the elements have a very modern feel. Obviously they are reminiscent of old buildings, but they are not trying to look the same as some of the old collegiate gothic structures. In his critique, Litt seems to demonstrate an all-or-nothing mentality towards new design.

 

I also am a fan of the siteplan.  With the buildings up to the sidewalk, there is a lot more pedestrian activity on E115.

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Excuse me, Gothic architecture was interesting prior to the 1600's...

 

It is still very interesting. Maybe its not interesting for a modern-day architect to design a gothic structure, but the existing structures are still grand and beautiful. Do you suggest that we tear down the Trinity Cathedral on Euclid? 

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I wouldn't say tear anything down.  The reason gothic cathedrals are incredible structures is because they were done with Middle Age construction methods.  Their beauty is derived from that fact.  If those construction methods have progressed to what they are now, why hasn't the architecture.  Copying a design just leaves so many unresearched concepts and possibilities on the table.  The designer isn't striving for anything other than fitting into the context.  That is not what gothic designers strived for.  They strived to create dynamic spaces, make a difference, and represent a city.  Architects that simply copy a design are doing none of that.

 

As an architect, a young one at that (26), I have designed the interior of one of the units at the Joshua Hall condos, as well as a studio space that is under construction at the NW corner of Superior and W9th (first floor of the Western Reserve Building).  I've also been involved with several competitions throughout the city.

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I'm sorry, but as someone who appreciates aesthetics and the way a building or space make me feel first and foremost and the merits of architectural technique and style second, I have to say that I am very pleased with the new CWRU dorms.  And if the external features don't interest you, you be hard pressed to argue that what's on the inside isn't superb.  That's not to say that I think college undergrads should be pampered in the way they are with those buildings (!), but the spaces are amazing and should prove to be very functional for students who want to have a social atmosphere, as well as one conducive to studying.

 

I'm not at all criticising you for having a strong opinion (we all have them here!), but I wanted to share my take.

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that collection of new buildings are the best looking set of structures that Case owns. that facility actually has a flow to it and meshes very well with the neighborhood. i also like how they incorporated the football field into the plan, very unique and intelligent use of space. :clap:

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That's because Case's new dorms are the most ridiculously uninspiring buildings ever constructed.  Gothic architecture was interesting in the 1600's because it was stretching the structural capabilites of the time.  Simply pasting a faux gothic facade is a slap in the face to gothic architecture and shows how lazy some architects are.

"Oh, the building next door is gothic, let's copy off of that."

That's not how a design process should go.

 

I wouldn't say tear anything down.  The reason gothic cathedrals are incredible structures is because they were done with Middle Age construction methods.  Their beauty is derived from that fact.  If those construction methods have progressed to what they are now, why hasn't the architecture.  Copying a design just leaves so many unresearched concepts and possibilities on the table.  The designer isn't striving for anything other than fitting into the context.  That is not what gothic designers strived for.  They strived to create dynamic spaces, make a difference, and represent a city.  Architects that simply copy a design are doing none of that. 

 

The more times I look at the CWRU new dorms, the more genius I realize they are.  They are unique, up to the street, and keep the same flow of the surrounding buildings. These dorms will last a long time, and that's how it needs to be.  Things i know about the dorms off the top of my head

 

-7 building designs, all are unique from each other (to get away from the cookie-cutter style of dorm)

-no two rooms are alike, other than the rooms immediately above or below.

-the dorms are actually the walls to the football (and soccer) stadium.

-Built SOLID. All brick and copper roofs. Here to stay.

-Built right up to the road and keep the same feel of the surrounding neighborhood, yet still look modern... 1600???  I don't understand.

-Every lobby is based off a Cleveland Art Museum painting with custom made furniture matching the theme (not architecture, but still cool)

 

Here are some pictures I took 3 days ago..even the pictures don't do it justice to how great they look:

 

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[Don't get too excited about this... ;) ]

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2008/03/evolution_is_a_serious_topic.html

 

Cleveland Museum of Natural History shows early expansion concepts by Fentress Architects

Posted by Steven Litt/Plain Dealer Architecture Critic

March 06, 2008 17:19PM

Categories: Architecture

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2008/03/large_cmnhoverview.jpg

A model of an expansion concept for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History includes a curving glass lobby and a skylight shaped like a giant leaf. The skylight is considered too expensive and may not be built.

 

A model of an expansion concept for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History includes a curving glass lobby and a skylight shaped like a giant leaf. The skylight is considered too expensive and may not be built.

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2008/03/large_cmnhlobby.jpg

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http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf/2008/11/cleveland_museum_of_natural_hi.html

Cleveland Museum of Natural History plows ahead with expansion plans despite economic turmoil

Posted by s litt November 03, 2008 17:56PM

 

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is chugging ahead quietly with plans for a large-scale renovation and expansion, despite the financial chill caused by the global economic crisis.

 

Museum officials figure that by the time they finish architectural plans, obtain cost estimates and complete a feasibility study, conditions for fundraising may improve.

 

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I took my kids to the museum a couple weeks ago and they loved it. They're 4 and 2, and I thought their heads were going to explode. They were going from display to display saying "ooh look at this...look at this"

 

That is, right up until the octogenarian working the front desk came over and shushed them. tuttut.gif

 

Oh well. What I did notice was, outside of my wife and kids, the place was dominated by little cells of elementary school aged kids on school trips, looking devastatingly bored as additional octogenarians were lecturing them on whatever display they were in front of.

 

The place is a wonderful learning tool, but needs desperately to be upgraded to be more interactive, if they ever want to appeal to younger generations. I'd support , either financially or otherwise, whatever efforts they undertake.

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And pending renovations/expansions from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History being guided by its new director:

 

Evalyn Gates takes helm at Cleveland Museum of Natural History as expansion plans gel

Published: Friday, July 09, 2010, 4:00 AM   

John Mangels, The Plain Dealer

 

 

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio — In the cool hush of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's "rare book room," a wood-paneled nook overseen by lifelike statues of water buffalo, giraffes and other exotic animals, Evalyn Gates is brainstorming.

 

A major traveling exhibit on climate change is coming, and though it won't arrive until next summer, the museum's new executive director thinks a year isn't too early for her staff to start thinking about how to improve it for Cleveland audiences. Perched on the edge of her chair at the head of a long conference table, Gates gently prods a half-dozen division heads for suggestions.

 

In its 90th year, the venerable institution is at a pivotal moment, poised for a top-to-bottom makeover of its exhibits and an expansion of its Wade Oval campus.

 

The changes, which will take years and could cost $30-50 million or more, are the most significant in the museum's long history. At completion, its sleek, modern facade will be sheathed in limestone and glass, shedding the stodgy "dentist office" look that has suffered in comparison to the renovated Cleveland Museum of Art just down the road.

 

In keeping with the project's focus on sustainability, the building's re-design will include storm water recycling, energy-efficient heating and cooling, and a new parking deck with a plant-covered "green" roof and outlets for electric cars to recharge.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/07/gates_takes_helm_at_cleveland.html

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This should be taken out of Complete Projects.

 

Peter Anagnostos will head the $50 million-plus campaign to expand and renovate the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History never abandoned plans for an ambitious expansion and renovation during the 2008 recession. Instead it slowed the project until the economic climate improved.

 

Now, after four years and the appointment of a new director, particle physicist Evalyn Gates, the museum is jumping back into the highly competitive world of raising big bucks for a big cultural project in University Circle.

 

That’s why it’s announcing it has hired veteran fundraiser Peter Anagnostos of Shaker Heights to head a capital campaign that could run $50 million or higher.

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2012/06/peter_anagnostos_will_head_the.html

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