Courtyard on Coventry, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Courtyard on Coventry, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Courtyard on Coventry, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Courtyard on Coventry is one of the more recent and successful of efforts to sustain the historic Coventry shopping district in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The Coventry area — sometimes referred to as ‘Coventry Village’ by locals — is a confluence of shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment, ringed by fairly dense single- and multi-family housing. This cluster of a half-dozen urban blocks line Coventry Road around its junctures with Euclid Heights Boulevard and Mayfield Road.

Supported through the years by the significant student population of such colleges as Case Western Reserve University and John Carroll University, Coventry in the 1960s carried a distinctly hippie vibe, with record stores, head shops and colorful clothing and posters. Today, its ambience is far more gentrified and eclectic, with a variety of boutiques, art, retailing and cuisine for almost any taste. To many, it is Cleveland’s own small version of Greenwich Village.

Local attorney and developer Lewis Zipkin was the man behind Courtyard on Coventry. Acquiring the former dilapidated structures occupying the site, he saw the need for a new mixed-use retail/restaurant/office structure that brought a modern gleam to the community, while still respecting its historic traditions. He also saw the need for a structure that truly fit the Coventry character.

Design architect Rick Zimmerman of ZZ Design of Solon, Ohio, realized that vision with a creative, curving infill structure of warm brick, stone, glass and metal. The 42,000 square foot building employs three large arched portals to bring patrons into interior stairwells to circulate among the building’s four levels. The long curved southeastern façade adjusts to the sloped and changing elevation of the street frontage, while bay windows provide both ample interior daylight and significant retail exposure to passersby.

Associate architect TDA (formerly ThenDesign Architecture) of Willoughby, Ohio, brought great sensitivity of detailing, material and color palette to the structure, insuring a complex that seamlessly melds with the rich and eclectic architectural fabric of Coventry. TDA also provided the sort of competent project management and trouble-free execution necessary to provide Cleveland Heights with a strong community asset in a timely and collegial manner.

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