Aaron Betsky states case for Terrace Plaza preservation

Aaron Betsky, critic, author, president of the School of Architecture at Taliesin, and former director of Cincinnati Art Museum, weighs in on the latest developer's plan for the Terrace Plaza at 6th and Vine Streets, downtown. 

Designed in 1947 by Nathalie de Blois ,The Terrace Plaza was the first hotel designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), and one of the first modern hotels in the United States. Its lobby, located on the eighth floor, was reached by express elevators from the street entrance. Two department stores originally occupied the first seven floors. The top floor, home to a small gourmet restaurant, offered panoramic views of the city. 

SOM designed the restaurant's interiors and accessories, and commissioned Joan Miró to design a mural as a focal point for the space. Other artists' works were included as part of the architectural design; a Calder mobile hung in the lobby, and a Saul Steinberg mural adorned the main restaurant.

Saul Steinberg's Mural of Cincinnati is currently on public display in the Cincinnati Art Museum's recently renovated Schmidlapp Gallery. Sponsored by the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Founders Society in honor of its 30th anniversary, the mural will be on display long-term for the first time since 1982. When Thomas Emery’s Sons, Inc. sold the hotel to the Hilton Corporation, Emery donated the three works of art to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Steinberg’s Mural of Cincinnati is reunited with the Terrace Plaza’s Miró mural and Calder mobile, both on view nearby in the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr., Gallery adjacent to the museum’s Terrace Café.

Betsky shares his opinion about two historical sites in this consideration: The Glasgow School of Art and the Terrace Plaza Hotel. 

To read the article, "Remake it Fake, if you have to", visit Architect here.

To learn more about SOM and view images of the Terrace Plaza when first opened, visit SOM | The Terrace Plaza here

Read more articles by Soapbox Staff.

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