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Parks Reimagined

The Nord Family Greenway and Doan Brook restoration project are transforming “forgotten” land west of the museum into gracious parks
Jeffrey Strean, Director of Design and Architecture
June 15, 2017

New Axis. A bird’s-eye rendering of the Nord Family Greenway shows how the landscape project creates a grand, new public space by integrating existing parklands.

This spring, crews began working on the new Nord Family Greenway, creating an open east-west promenade between Case Western Reserve University’s Tinkham Veale University Center and its new Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center, housed in the Temple–Tifereth Israel. Taking inspiration from verdant public spaces such as the Lawn at the University of Virginia, the open green swath runs parallel to the museum’s south entrance. The spectacular south-to-north view of the museum’s south facade from Euclid Avenue remains unchanged, even as the grand new pedestrian thoroughfare redefines the experience of walking east and west past the museum. The gentle hillsides on either side of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard feature terraced steps as well as bike and pedestrian paths, with an at-grade crossing of MLK.

View across Doan Brook looking southwest toward the area to be improved as a public park

As the greenway work wraps up next year, a second project gets under way to transform the long-neglected space between the museum’s western flank and MLK into a new public park. A disused 1940s maintenance building owned by the City of Cleveland was removed from the north end of the site earlier this year, clearing the way for new paths that will open access to the meadow adjoining Doan Brook, as well as an overlook at the stream’s edge. The work is part of the Doan Brook Streambank Stabilization and Restoration Project, a partnership between the museum and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District designed to protect the stream and restore the landscape to public use, linking the Fine Arts Garden and the museum grounds with Rockefeller Park and the neighborhoods to the north and west. The brook itself will be slightly rerouted to control erosion on the steep hillside beside the museum and to allow the riparian floodplain to more effectively absorb fluctuations in water flow. The overall site will be planted with a mix of shrubs, ornamental trees, and canopy trees, keeping with the renowned Olmsted Brothers’ original 1928 design of the Fine Arts Garden. The Doan Brook restoration project should be complete in 2019.

Like the greenway plan, the landscape design is by Sasaki Associates of Boston, who were selected for both projects because of their embrace of the site’s inherent beauty and their understanding of how the merits of the original Olmsted design could be extended into the new projects to make gracious, flexible public spaces. 

Overhead drawing of the new green-way (not yet showing stream rerouting)


Drawings © Sasaki Associates