Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interesting Cleveland Architecture: The Peter B. Lewis Building at CWRU

A few years ago I had to attend a business class at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. The class was being held in the George S. Dively Building, a very nice, sedate looking structure with a somewhat sterile, yet calming interior. While driving around, trying to find a place to park, I spotted another structure across the street that looked like someone had problems putting the steel girders together. They looked crooked, and were leaning in directions that weren’t normal for a building. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was looking at the shell of the Peter B. Lewis Building, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.

While I have never had the chance to see the interior, the real interest, in my opinion, is the undulating metal ribbon-like exterior and the lopsided, tilted brick walls. It reminds me of a roll of shiny duct tape, draped in waves over the structure. In my opinion, the drawback to this quirky exterior is that there isn’t enough distance between it and other surrounding buildings to be able to fully appreciate its form. There are some who call the building ugly, because it doesn’t fit traditional building styles. I think the building’s design can inspire one to think more creatively.

Frank Gehry has designed numerous buildings worldwide with this outside-the-box style. I think we’re very fortunate to have one of his designs here in Cleveland.

Aerial View - Google Earth

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