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Aerial of Cleveland riverfront development by Adjaye Associates

Adjaye Associates unveils masterplan for Cleveland riverfront redevelopment

Architecture studio Adjaye Associates has been selected to create a series of residential and commercial spaces along the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, which architect David Adjaye said will tap into the "lost heritage of the city".

The Cuyahoga Riverfront masterplan aims to modify and repurpose 35 acres of land along the Cuyahoga River near the landmark Public Square in Cleveland.

Adjaye's studio will carry out the project by replacing what is currently a series of parking lots and industrial areas with structures and plazas designed to connect the city to the riverfront.

Rendering of buildings on Cleveland's Waterfront
Adjaye Associates has designed a masterplan for Cleveland's riverfront

"Our redevelopment strategy for the downtown Cleveland Riverfront taps into the lost heritage of the city, establishing a new relationship between the urban core and the shore," said Adjaye.

"As I became more deeply immersed, the need to build a more tempered flow of movement through the city became immensely clear," he added.

"We'll stratify the inclining site through layers of use and activation, advancing from commercial and transactional function, toward the more public, recreational uses at the water's edge."

Rendering of people walking on new Cleveland waterfront
The project will cover 35 acres

In total, the project will cover 35 acres and comprise more than 3.5 million square feet (325,160 metres) of space. This will include new structures as well as adaptive reuse projects, according to developer Bedrock, a real estate company owned by Dan Gilbert, owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

The masterplan seeks to convert this area of Cleveland into a "15-minute downtown" over the next 20 years, referencing the concept whereby citizens can access their daily necessities without a car within 15 minutes.

Central to the development will be the renewal of the Tower City Centre – a mall in the area – which will be the "central spine" of the project.

"The grand space will mirror the architectural presence of boulevards and covered markets around the globe," said Bedrock.

Light coming through wooden slats on waterfront development Cleveland
The project is meant to connect Downtown Cleveland to the riverfront

The team also plans on having a transportation hub that will further connect the area to other parts of the city.

The majority of the building will take place around Tower City and Public Square, on the east bank of the river, while the west bank portion will be characterised by "accessible green space" via a neighbourhood connected by landscaped walkways.

Though no specific details of the structures planned have yet been given, renderings show a series of high- and mid-rise structures wrapped around the bend in the river where the project will be sited.

Children playing in the water in rendering of Cleveland riverfront development
The development will implement private and public space

According to the team, the project will allow for the implementation of estuaries and stormwater flows that will help to irrigate the green space planned for the area.

"Looking ahead, the Cuyahoga Riverfront masterplan will leverage the most advanced and modern sustainable practices to ensure that it is at the forefront of smart city development," said Bedrock, which has brought on local engineering firms Osborn Engineering and MKSK as consultants.

"Bedrock's vision for the redevelopment of the Cuyahoga Riverfront is one of the major projects that will help us realize Cleveland’s goal of becoming the 18-hour, 15-minute city we know it can be," said Cleveland mayor Justin M Bibb.

Adjaye Associates has offices in Acra, London and New York City. Other North American projects by the studio include the development of Quayside in Toronto and a rose-hued culture hub in Florida.

Images are courtesy of Adjaye Associates.