Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Cleveland Play House

As I mentioned back in November the Cleveland Clinic has purchased the Cleveland Play House, including the spectacular building built in 1983 by Cleveland native Philip Johnson. Johnson, one of the most significant architects of the 20th century, is best known for his 1949 Glass House, a National Historic Landmark, in New Canaan, Connecticut.

If the Cleveland Clinic continues to behave as that have in the past, this building will be demolished.

Cleveland Play House

The complex is seen here from Euclid Avenue. The playful approach to the style is unique in Cleveland architecture.

Cleveland Play House

Cleveland Play House

Johnson's addition fits well with the building currently occupied by MOCA Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House

The interior is truly impressive - it will not do to gut this building, just retaining the shell.

We need to let the Cleveland Clinic know how we feel about this Cleveland landmark. They need to understand that it cannot simply be demolished. While I am not aware of the Clinic's exact plans for the space, I am sure that they can find a way to utilize the buildings with little modification. Two thirds of the Play House property is surface parking right now. Surely this space could be better utilized so that this landmark can be saved.

Cleveland Play House

Through January 3, the Cleveland Play House is open during the day for A Festival of Trees. Take this opportunity to see the interior of this spectacular space. It is open Monday - Wednesday, 10-5, Thursday-Saturday, 10-9, and Sunday 12-5. If you want to avoid the $8 parking fee for the Play House lot, nearby street parking is available.

I encourage you to contact the president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Delos Cosgrove, M.D., to let him know your feelings on this subject. He can be reached by phone at 216-444-2300 or by mail at:

Delos Cosgrove
Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Mail Code H18
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195


  1. Demotion versus adaptive reuse is certainly the "easy" way out--a path that is all too often taken anymore. While I am in love with old buildings, even seeing this one potentially on the endangered list is bothersome on so many levels. Aside from the obvious loss of historic details in a typical old and/or historic building, the fact remains that the demolition of any building is a waste of natural resources. I recently witnessed the demolition of a mansion in Omaha that was only about 20 years old. What irritated me the most was seeing all of the brick, stone, copper, slate, hardwood, etc. all being loaded into a dump truck and sent off to the landfill.

  2. I'm not letting myself believe this would be possible. My mind rejects the whole idea.