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Cleveland's Historic Arcade

Updated on June 27, 2016
Cleveland's historic Arcade
Cleveland's historic Arcade

A classic of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture flanks Euclid Avenue, downtown Cleveland’s premier commercial street. The city’s historic Arcade, designed by architect George H. Smith and erected in 1890, extends a skylit 300-foot long commercial arcade of impeccable wrought iron, glass, oak and stone to Superior Avenue, terminating in a massive rustic arched stone opening.

The structure offers safe haven from Cleveland winters to visitor, shopper and office worker alike, for, in addition to several levels of convenient retail shops, the tall vertical arcade volume houses floors of offices and a Hyatt Regency hotel. The Arcade was modeled on the concept of the roofed pedestrian street, perhaps best exemplified in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, but replicated around the globe in similar facilities in London, Naples, Brussels, and St. Petersburg, as well as in the largest burg of rickzworld.

The Arcade consists of two parallel nine-story office blocks aligned along either side of its five-story iron-and-glass-roofed commercial arcade. The office spaces share the arcade ambience via stepped balconies overlooking the central space. The main level of that central space changes elevation to accommodate the different street levels of Euclid and Superior Avenues. The primary building façades along the streets are load-bearing, while most of the interior space is structured by steel, cast iron and glass. The Arcade was an innovator, in that it was one of the first buildings to ever employ triple-hinged bridge trusses as its roof structure.

In the 1930s, the Arcade’s Euclid Avenue façade was renovated to a more ‘contemporary’ deco styling. More recently, the structure’s interior layout was altered to accommodate the current Hyatt hotel operation. Today, the central atrium space serves as a charming and nostalgic setting for fundraisers, special occasions and wedding parties — or for a stroll through centuries past.

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