In Summer 2015, PORT won the Cleveland Main Avenue Bridge Underpass design competition and were awarded a commission to execute the project. The scheme’s proposed closing of the eastbound lane of Main Avenue to vehicular traffic, and graphic striping of its surface represents a dramatic first move, resulting in a continuously defined public realm surface that is highly legible, yet retains the character of the existing brickwork. This newly defined ground plane links together a series of new zones of activity and collection distributed along the length of the corridor.
In order to define and animate these zones, a robust but flexible catalogue of urban furnishing is needed. We organize this catalogue in relation to the topographic conditions of the corridor. Flat, for the Approach and Lookout Mound (0% slope). Steep, for the Upper/Lower Hills and the Crossing (11-13% slope). And gradual, for the Landing (3-4% slope).
The furnishing catalogue is punctuated by a series of highly visible, spatially spectacular elements including lighting cages; super-graphic wayfinding; public collection platforms; framed view corridors; and areas of dramatic planting. This collection of elements transforms the underpass from a dark, unwelcoming corner of the city into a new gateway to the Lower Cuyahoga River Valley.