Wednesday, November 08, 2006

vision endures

Focus: Cleveland; High-Rise Completes 1903 Plan - New York Times: Here's a blast from the past, the 1986 NYT. I remember going with Gloria, a SOHIO employee at the time, to the opening reception for this building--it was elegant. Helen Smith got us the tickets at the last minute, and I had to dig up a rented tux in a hurry. I was never aware until today that Obata had been guided by Burnham's vision. Say what you will, this town has great basics.

"WITH the construction of the 45-story Standard Oil Headquarters, Daniel Burnham's ambitious 1903 master plan for downtown Cleveland has finally been completed - but not in the way the 19th-century architect imagined.
Burnham, whose 1893 master plan for Chicago is considered his finest project, had grand ideas for Ohio's largest city - an elegant public square surrounded by tall buildings, a mall leading to Lake Erie and a lakefront train station. What he suggested was consistent with his belief that city planners should ''make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood.''
It was no little plan, but except for the public square and the mall, what Burnham envisioned for Cleveland was never built. And the railroad station ended up on the public square, not on the lake. But seven years ago, when Standard Oil decided to go ahead with the $200 million headquarters project, the architect, Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum of St. Louis, decided to take his inspiration from Burnham. "


  1. Tim:

    I am surprised. You didn't mention the mini beef tenderloin sandwiches with horseradish sauce. The best you have ever tasted!

    Is food no longer a test for a good party?

  2. Food was the immediate test. Now, over the years, the memory of the overall elegance of the opening is taking over. But, yes, back then, the pleased palate and the full belly did prevail, before the years put things into another perspective.