Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative finds new home

Brittany Schenk

Building move may create buzz in city

(Top) The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, a branch of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State is currently located in Cleveland’s sports district but will be relocating in December to Playhouse Square. (Bottom) Christopher

Credit: DKS Editors

Check out the CUDC blog.

You can also visit: the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project site and District of Design’s site.

The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, a branch of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State is relocating to PlayhouseSquare, becoming the first tenant of Cleveland’s District of Design.

“We will be a great initial tenant because we can expand our presence in many ways,” said Christopher Diehl, associate professor and director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

The school will occupy the second floor of a two-story building currently known as the Cowell and Hubbard Building.

The building, located at 1305 Euclid Ave., will house offices, classrooms and exhibit space. This will allow the CUDC to cater more directly to the needs of clients, staff and students.

Diehl said that as design firms continue to move into the area, he hopes students will have internship opportunities and be able to find full-time employment.

The move is planned for December between the fall and spring semester.

“(This is the) biggest window of non-activity for us,” Diehl said.

Moving allows CUDC to operate in the center of the District of Design that spans from East 13th to East 18th Street The area is currently being developed into a community where urban designers, architects and manufacturers co-exist and are able to share ideas and products.

Public transportation is also easily accessible on Euclid Avenue for CUDC students and staff as a result of the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project, an initiative designed to develop more efficient means of transportation for Cleveland residents and businesses.

“It will be good for us, I think we will be a good citizen of PlayhouseSquare by creating a buzz of activity. It will be good for students as well,” Diehl said.

The move will provide the CUDC, formally located in the sports district, with the ability to expand and become more involved with the arts community while also further developing partnerships with the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and PlayhouseSquare.

“I think from a visibility standpoint that we can have a much more declarative presence not just from the street but also from Star Plaza,” Diehl said. “(At our current location) most people don’t know we are here.”

Diehl said the plans for the building allow the space to be energy efficient and will incorporate features such as light shelves, which will bounce light deep into the building. He said the design is loft-like and as open as possible so it can be used for everything from business meetings and classes to full exhibits.

Diehl said he would like to see updated computer and printer stations installed in the space and graduate programs expanded.

Overall expenses of the move are supported by grants from the Cleveland Foundation, George Gund Foundation and Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust.

Diehl said CUDC represents a “piece of Kent State in Cleveland” and that it is vital for the university to have a voice in the city.

“Universities for the last 15 years are realizing suddenly that communities around their campuses are often student ghettos and impoverished economically and diversely and they need to care much more and turn outward,” Diehl said.

As a result, he said, CUDC is in the largest metropolitan center for Kent State and is able to reach alumni and constituents living in Cleveland.

“We try and have students work in concert with us and work in real neighborhoods with real people with real problems,” Diehl said. “Cleveland is a fantastic laboratory.”

Contact news correspondent Brittany Schenk at [email protected].