It looks like the Rock Hall will in fact get a redesigned plaza. Well, that much was never really in doubt. The soulless, concrete expanse in front of the iconic structure has long needed some love, something to make it more connected to the surrounding areas.
What was in doubt was what that modern update would look like and, more importantly, whether it would be completed by the all-important deadline of the RNC in July.
A little more than two weeks ago, initial plans went before the city's design review committee. That group had harsh words
. In a unanimous vote of the 10 members, the designs were tabled, the architect and Rock Hall sent back to the drawing board to come up with something that wasn't so predictable, something that wasn't so immediately recognized as borrowed, something that was more Cleveland. Jack Bialosky, an architect and member of the design review committee, said, "there's nothing unique to this experience that's all about Cleveland and unique to this place... I don't think you've gone far enough." That was evident in the plans, which included a sterile display of the phrase "Long Live Rock," for instance.
The Rock Hall and its partners went back to the drawing table and came back with some tweaks. Those tweaks, including the canopies seen above and the addition of images of rock stars whose faces could be placed in the "O" of "Long."
Those tweaks and others — having a food truck on site instead of serving food from a kitchen in a shipping container — were enough for the review committee to sign off. All 10 members voted in favor and the plans now head to the city's planning commission for a vote this Friday.
Via Cleveland.com's coverage:
The committee chairman said he was pleased overall by the improvements in the design, although he said he felt the "Long Live Rock" sign was too imitative of a similar type of sign outside the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
"If you feel really, really strongly about that, I would defer to that, but I personally would prefer something that is very clearly Cleveland, and I don't think this is."
Nevertheless, he and the other committee members voted unanimously, 10-0, to approve the project. The plans next go to the city Planning Commission Friday.
[Rock Hall CEO Greg] Harris said after the meeting that the improvements would "create a communal space on the lakefront activated with programs and activities to make it a living, breathing lakefront.
"You will hear live music and have great smells and see people from all over the country," he said. "It will set the stage for entering a museum of rock 'n' roll in a way that the current windswept plaza does not."
If the planning commission also gives a green light, the Rock Hall says the updates would be completed by the RNC.