Shelter me. An iconic public art project in the Gordon Square Arts District.


Not much comes to mind when you think of the term, “bus stop.” However, it seems that’s all about to change, at least it is in the Gordon Square Arts District, part of Cleveland’s West Side Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. As part of a $3 million-plus makeover of Detroit Avenue, architect Robert Maschke created edgy and forward-looking bus stops along the Detroit Avenue streetscape. The new shelters are part of an ensemble of new pieces of public art slated for the redevelopment project.

This short film, shot by neighborhood resident Qian Li, depicts the commitment of people who believe in their community, in Cleveland, and in the future of the area. The bus stops will become the first public art in the neighborhood and are intended to symbolize not only the transformational power of art, but a turning point for this evolving area.

The design is a single stainless steel surface which wraps and folds to create the shelter. Perforations pepper the surface which responds to the various conditions of the sun, wind and views. In the evening the shelters will be internally illuminated, projecting a subtle dithered pattern on the surrounding buildings and surfaces. Maschke’s design has garnered his firm several awards including the 2011 AIA National Small Project Award.

The project’s reception, however, is mixed. Some people believe the design, although assuredly iconic and cutting edge, fails to consider the extreme weather conditions in Northeast Ohio. One neighborhood resident considers Maschke’s approach “inconsiderate” and has gone as far to say the shelters are “eyesores”  and to call these shelters public art is simply a cruel joke. It’s an interesting debate, award-winning design vs. public residential opinion. What side are you on? Was the design a successfully functional piece of public art or simply just a subjective artpiece?


images via Cleveland Public Art

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