The Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building
Two historic structures from Cleveland’s storied past had to make way in the 1960s for the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building. The late Victorian Old Central Armory of 1896, designed by Lehman & Schmitt, and the Egyptian-flavored Cuyahoga County Morgue of 1894, were both demolished for this Modernist tower.
Known locally simply as The Federal Building (at least until the construction of a new Federal court structure, the Carl B. Stokes Federal Courthouse), the 32-story, 419 ft. high structure was designed by a consortium of three of the city’s then most prominent architectural firms: Dalton, Dalton, Little and Newport; Outcalt, Guenther, Rode & Bonebrake; and Schafer, Flynn, Van Dijk. Completed in 1967, the tower’s sleek and minimalist architectural style, materials and detailing are typical of that era’s high-rise commercial office buildings.
The skyscraper, among the city’s half-dozen tallest, stands near the intersection of East Ninth Street and Lakeside Avenue, within the general area of the Erieview urban renewal area defined in 1960. The facility is named for Cleveland’s 49th mayor, Anthony J. Celebrezze, who went on to a distinguished career as U.S. Secretary for Health, Education and Welfare, and Federal appeals judge.
The exterior skin of the tower consists of stainless steel and glass, and terminates at grade in lobby areas primarily encased in glass. The building’s lobbies, entrances and plaza areas have undergone several additions and renovations over the years to ameliorate the impact on arriving occupants and guests of the bitter, blasting winter winds and snow of storms rolling off nearby Lake Erie. Certain modifications to public accessways were also brought about Post-9/11. Other renovations have included upgrades to interior systems and additional landscaping.
Housed within the Federal Building are Armed Forces recruiting offices, a Coast Guard Command Center, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), and offices of the Federal government’s Social Security Administration, Small Business Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.
As part of the Federal government’s economic stimulus and recovery package coming out of the 2008-2010 recession, the facility is slated to receive improvements to upgrade its overall energy efficiency. Progress is currently underway on a complete second outer skin of fritted glass to be attached standing several feet off the existing exterior wall surfaces, and encapsulating a tempered cavity.
A towering silvered slab rising above East 9th Street.
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