Rock Hall of Fame reveals plan for expansion

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Rock Hall of Fame reveals plan for expansion
A rendering of the expansion plan, in which a triangular wedge will appear to slice into the base of the Rock Hall’s original building. Photo: Practice for Architecture and Urbanism.

by Zachary Small

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland on Friday released designs for a $100 million renovation and expansion, which would grow the museum’s footprint by a third with a dramatic addition to the original I.M. Pei building.

The Rock Hall announced that the architecture firm PAU will lead the project, which will bring 50,000 square feet of programming space and a new band shell overlooking the shore of Lake Erie. The triangular addition will resemble a guitar pick slicing into the base of the original waterfront pyramid, which opened in 1995.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, the architecture firm’s founder and creative director, will oversee the expansion with assistance from other design firms including Cooper Robertson, James Corner Field Operations and L’Observatoire International.

“Our theme for the project is The Clash,” said Chakrabarti, who also serves as dean for the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. He said the new design has “a sense of grit” that is in line with the rebelliousness of rock ’n’ roll.

The desire to create a campus around the Rock Hall originated about five years ago, its president and CEO, Greg Harris, said. The hall hoped to add space for exhibitions and events, as well as offices with a view of the water.

“We wanted to host exhibitions like the Brooklyn Museum’s David Bowie show, but we just didn’t have the space,” Harris said. “We want to give our audiences the giant wow moment that you would expect from a place of our magnitude.”

The museum had originally embarked on a $55 million capital campaign for renovations, but the expansion nearly doubled the financial cost to a total of $100 million. With the help of trustees, the Rock Hall said, it has raised $73 million.

PAU was chosen because it is one of the top architectural firms in the world, Paul Clark, the chairman of the museum’s board, said. “Their experience will be instrumental as we work through our vision to enhance the Rock Hall,” he said.

It has been a difficult year for the Rock Hall, which relies heavily on ticketed attendance. The coronavirus pandemic put a $14 million dent in its revenues, and the museum was forced to lay off nearly 50 employees.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

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