Cuyahoga County Courthouse
March 17, 2007 8:38 PM   Subscribe

The Cuyahoga County Courthouse is a magnificent building. [via]
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (45 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice photos. Those arched coffered ceilings are almost disorienting.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:45 PM on March 17, 2007


Also, this statement is so depressing: "I asked security after they patted me down and ran the metal dector if I would be able to take pictures of the interior. They said it was ok, and did not have any forms or legalese for me to sign, so technically I could do anything I wanted with the pictures, which really excites me! It's not everyday that I get both permission and complete rights."
posted by Rock Steady at 8:47 PM on March 17, 2007


Very pretty. So is the building for sale, as well as what goes on there?
posted by davy at 8:55 PM on March 17, 2007


Wow, that really is incredible--thanks for sharing!

Looks like I have a new desktop background.
posted by DMan at 9:00 PM on March 17, 2007


Not only have I never been in that building, but I had no idea it was awesome. I work less than a mile away. What other completely awesome stuff is downtown that I'm missing?

Looks like I'm taking a trip sometime soon!
posted by pinespree at 9:02 PM on March 17, 2007


Wow.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:09 PM on March 17, 2007


Actually, rather than being depressed by his surprise that he gets full rights to the pics, I was kind of surprised that they let him take pictures with a huge SLR in a government building without running his SSN through the terrorist database. Is that more depressing?

and I don't know SumoPope, but man - that guy carries some serious glass when he goes to visit his friends in jail. Approx. 90 degree field of view for a walkin around lens? jealous.
posted by pinespree at 9:13 PM on March 17, 2007


It really is wonderful--it reminds me of the Lincoln, Nebraska State Capital Bldg, which was stunning. You really have to admire their optimism that their areas would grow up to be worthy of such majestic buildings (altho most didn't)
posted by amberglow at 9:21 PM on March 17, 2007


The craftsmanship inside that building is insane -- apologies for the cliche but the just don't build them like they used to. I wonder if anybody can even do stonework and woodwork like that anymore. The courtrooms were straight out of central casting.

It was kinda eerie how empty the place appeared to be, though.
posted by brain cloud at 9:26 PM on March 17, 2007


MetaFilter: I would suck cock for days to have just seen it once.
posted by pruner at 10:17 PM on March 17, 2007


I can't see the word "Cuyahoga" without thinking of Randy Newman's gem of a song, Burn On. It was about this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:21 PM on March 17, 2007


Notice he didn't take any picture from outside because for some reason the court house, as beautiful as it is inside, looks like bunker architecture from the street.
posted by Falconetti at 10:21 PM on March 17, 2007


That is one of the most building buildings I've seen and looking at buildings is one of my hobbies.

Thanks for this one, Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese.
posted by rmmcclay at 10:37 PM on March 17, 2007


Eh, I've seen magnificenter.
posted by jonson at 10:39 PM on March 17, 2007


Some exterior shots.
posted by rmmcclay at 10:40 PM on March 17, 2007


Astonishing. Thanks for this post.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:42 PM on March 17, 2007


I take back what I said about the outside. I was thinking of the Justice Center across the street. Which, now that I think about it, could not have ever been part of the "City Beautiful" movement that I assume the court house was part of.
posted by Falconetti at 11:00 PM on March 17, 2007


Fantastic. The stairway shots look like drawings for a fairy tale. Expect Cinderella to lose her shoe any moment.
posted by Cranberry at 11:42 PM on March 17, 2007


Neat. Someday I want bronze turtles holding up my desk.
posted by casarkos at 1:26 AM on March 18, 2007


Wait, that's it? I mean, that's a lovely building, but there's no joke? I was expecting, you know, something awful.
posted by redteam at 1:27 AM on March 18, 2007


I am so going to go on a major crime spree in Cleveland so's I can get a free ticket into that building! Now I just gotta decide, is it gonna be banks or liquor stores?
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 1:49 AM on March 18, 2007


If anyone's curious, the architecture firm who did it was Lehman and Schmidtt.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:33 AM on March 18, 2007


Heh. Don't get me wrong, that's a beautiful building, but my main reaction was "Come to NYC, pal, your mind will be blown on every block." Poor Cuyahoga County, so architecturally impoverished that one nice courthouse has a guy this excited!
posted by languagehat at 6:17 AM on March 18, 2007


That was a wonderful set of photos of a fantastic building. But where were all the people? My county courthouse is always crawling with lawyers, and judges, and perps (ohmy!).

Also, the in-line advertising (MIVA Pay-Per-Click Ads) was a tad disorienting. The line "A very nice and pretty young lady showed me the secret panel to get onto the bench" included in-line ads for a dating service and some outfit that sells park benches.
posted by mmahaffie at 6:24 AM on March 18, 2007


You have to remember that at one time, Cleveland was the third largest city in the US. It's where Rockefeller was headquartered, and there was a whole lot of money around. The buildings that were part of this planning are beautiful, along with the plazas and sculpture behind them. Sadly though, as soon as you cross Lakeside Avenue to the Justice Center, downtown Cleveland becomes a lot less architecturally interesting, until you hit Superior, where there's a courthouse, the public library and the Federal Reserve Bank branch which pick up the styles again.
posted by ltracey at 7:18 AM on March 18, 2007


This reminds me of my local Post Office in a way. It's a cool art deco building with striking W.P.A. murals... Unfortunately, the building not been maintained all that well. Even worse, the USPS has hung gaudy, primary-colored lit signs pushing their delivery confirmation services and whatnot all over the place, completely destroying the art deco feel of the place. I wish I had thought to take some pictures before they did that. It's a goddamn shame.
posted by misskaz at 7:46 AM on March 18, 2007


I did a week of jury duty in that building a couple of years ago. I saw this sort of thing, but nothing more elaborate than that.

When I was there, the security guys were very friendly, and the halls were generally very empty, so I'm not surprised that someone got permission to use a tripod.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2007


Cleveland was never more than the sixth largest city in America. And languagehat: You're right. NYC is dense with magnificent and unseen architecture. There's a building every couple of blocks or so that would be the pride and joy of any smaller town. But in NYC, they're nobody's pride and joy, and so go uncelebrated. Is it better to be loved and appreciated in a small town (and Cleveland's gettin' smaller every day), or be marvelous and unappreciated in a big town? I dunno, myself.
posted by Faze at 8:52 AM on March 18, 2007


Cleveland was never more than the sixth largest city in America. And languagehat: You're right. NYC is dense with magnificent and unseen architecture. There's a building every couple of blocks or so that would be the pride and joy of any smaller town. But in NYC, they're nobody's pride and joy, and so go uncelebrated. Is it better to be loved and appreciated in a small town (and Cleveland's gettin' smaller every day), or be marvelous and unappreciated in a big town? I dunno, myself.
posted by Faze at 8:52 AM on March 18, 2007


B-b-b-b-b-but NEW YORK!
posted by redteam at 9:11 AM on March 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. That really IS a seriously gorgeous building. I love the brass turtle, it's very Pratchett.
posted by biscotti at 9:15 AM on March 18, 2007


Now I'm thinking more about this sort of thing, and flapjax at midnight's tedious and unoriginal reference to the completely talentless fake-singing in a Negro-accent Randy Newman's song about the burning river -- ha ha, the river burned, ha ha -- and realize that in addition to an abundance of good things that go unappreciated, NYC (and Chicago) also suffers disasters and decay on a scale that dwarfs the burning of the Cuyahoga every day, that also go unremarked and do not brand the city for eternity. Compared to NYC (or Chicago), for instance, Cleveland is an environmental paradise. The decayed and depressing portions of NYC alone equal the entire city of Cleveland three times over -- including the good parts of Cleveland. That bright little nut at the heart of NYC, Manhattan, makes up for a great deal of hideousness in the surrounding boroughs, not to mention the whole tri-state area, up to and including Perth Amboy. NYC is basically a hell-hole outside of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. (Outside of the Loop and the Miracle Mile, Chicago IS Cleveland.) So you have to take a lot of things into consideration when making these comparisons between cities.
posted by Faze at 9:16 AM on March 18, 2007


Great pictures. There was so much pride in government buildings in the 19th and early 20th century US. Public architecture seem so much more indifferent or prosaic now.
posted by octothorpe at 9:18 AM on March 18, 2007


Its a great pity and shame that very few of today's buildings can manage to replicate the same greatness and beauty that such buildings as the Courthouse were built with. Now excuse me, I've got a plain boring rectangular box building to stare at through my window.
posted by Atreides at 9:39 AM on March 18, 2007


Great pictures. There was so much pride in government buildings in the 19th and early 20th century US. Public architecture seem so much more indifferent or prosaic now.

That's it exactly--pride. We don't have awesome cathedrals or castles or palaces and stuff, so these buildings were supposed to enlighten and inspire us about us and our own power--secularly, i guess.

more of Lincoln's Capitol
posted by amberglow at 10:36 AM on March 18, 2007


Cleveland was never more than the sixth largest city in America.

Peaked at fifth. It's important to remember that from about 1880 to 1940, Ohio was the center of manufacturing in the US.

The decayed and depressing portions of NYC alone equal the entire city of Cleveland three times over -- including the good parts of Cleveland.

I'm really not sure why languagehat brought that up, anyway. Nor is a pissing match (my city is less depressing than yours?!) seemly. This is a fantastic piece of architecture by any measure, built at the absolute peak of decorative excess. There are fewer and fewer of these around every year. In 2006 alone, Chicago lost three Louis Sullivan buildings (to fire in each case). What I wouldn't give for Chicago to still have its Federal Building.
posted by dhartung at 10:50 AM on March 18, 2007


I'm really not sure why languagehat brought that up

Huh? I thought my point was obvious and plainly stated. Yes, this building is very nice, but the fact that this guy is so excited about it implies there's a dearth of good architecture where he lives. There is much, much more in NYC (and Chicago, and many other places, but I happen to have lived in NYC for years), so I speculated that being exposed to all that gloriousness would blow his mind. Is that somehow controversial? I was not putting down Cleveland (I've never been there but I love American Splendor), just making a comparison. Are we not allowed to mention the fact that all cities are not created equal in terms of architecture? Jeesh, talk about political correctness run amuck.

OK, Cleveland is THE GREATEST CITY EVAR!
posted by languagehat at 11:11 AM on March 18, 2007


The nerve that someone not acknowledge NYC as the end-all be-all of all creation.
posted by keswick at 11:26 AM on March 18, 2007


Now I finally know where to find the stained glass you see in all the Cleveland lawyer commercials' backdrops! Hurrah!

And as pretty as the courthouse is, I still like the old library building best. (Not the new building, what Prince Charles would call "a monstrous carbuncle on the face of an old friend" if he had time to worry about NE Ohio architecture, too).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:46 AM on March 18, 2007


While we're sharing pics of local government buildings... I live 3 blocks from the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex: pretty nice huh?
posted by synaesthetichaze at 1:13 PM on March 18, 2007


I guess I should have prefaced the post with some kind of warning that the contents might not be good enough some New Yorkers.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:11 PM on March 18, 2007


Hm, I visited that building a quite a few times when I was clerking at a Cleveland firm in law school, and it never looked quite as lovely in person as it does in those photos. Cleveland's city hall, where I also worked for a time, is another building that was once beautiful and is now a bit run down.
posted by amro at 8:22 PM on March 18, 2007


"Come to NYC, pal, your mind will be blown on every block."

I think that you meant a different anatomical part than "mind".


Great pictures. There was so much pride in government buildings in the 19th and early 20th century US. Public architecture seem so much more indifferent or prosaic now.

This is all too true, although the Feds made a notable step back towards good (or at least, non-bland) architectural design through their Design Excellence Program. You can download PDFs (yeargh) of their 2000, 2002, and 2004 design winners to see what level of architecture they are encouraging.

Given that they pour around $1 billion per year into the construction of buildings throughout the country, it amounts to one of the most significant investments in the structural arts since the Borgias (with some of the accompanying corruption, intrigues, and general mayhem).

The Thom Mayne-designed San Francisco Federal Building recently was reviewed in the NY Times and displays a level of creativity that one does not normally see in government (and I say this as a gummint employee myself). Located a few blocks from the County Courthouse, Cleveland's new U.S. Courthouse is not as challenging as Mayne's building, but it is at least more interesting than the city's new FBI building, which looks like a fortified suburban extended-stay hotel.
posted by Avogadro at 11:57 AM on March 19, 2007


Hm, I visited that building a quite a few times when I was clerking at a Cleveland firm in law school, and it never looked quite as lovely in person as it does in those photos.

Dunno when you were clerking, but they renovated her a few years ago, which may account for the general shininess.
posted by Avogadro at 12:00 PM on March 19, 2007


That S.F. Federal Building looks like a robot abortion.
posted by keswick at 1:57 PM on March 19, 2007


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