Rock Hall Announces Museum Expansion

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A rendering of a birds eye view of the Rock Hall’s expanded footprint (Rendering via Practice for Architecture and Urbanism)

If you were hoping that this story was about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announcing an expansion of its inductees to include the scores of worthy artists who continue to be overlooked – like classic rock legends Jethro Tull, Bad Company, Phil Collins (as a solo act), Joe Cocker, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, to name a few – you’ll be sadly disappointed.

However, the Rock Hall‘s museum has, indeed, announced a major expansion of its home in downtown Cleveland. On Dec. 18, the Museum revealed that Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) had won its competition to design an expansion of the famous I.M. Pei landmark building. This is a pivotal moment for the Museum, the community and for individuals who champion education and the preservation of rock and roll history.

“Our impact has been great… over the last 25 years, and it’s now time to expand our physical space,” said Greg Harris, President & CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “We are excited to join with PAU, one of the world’s top architectural design firms, as we build on this success and look forward to the next 100 years.”

The Rock Hall kicked off a process in 2019 for a dramatic Museum redesign that would bolster its library, provide new or enhanced experiences and modernize its infrastructure by adding to its existing 150,000 square-feet.

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

A rendering of the Rock Hall’s Plaza performance area (Rendering via Practice for Architecture and Urbanism)

From the announcement: While this design concept will continue to evolve, the plans represent the space and function needed to support the Museum’s growth in all aspects of the mission. This new addition will create both internal and external gathering spaces for the community to learn and celebrate together and will serve as a connector to the Great Lakes Science Center. The newly designed Museum will bring more space to engage with visitors including hosting more concerts and community events.

The close knit Rock Hall Foundation, which is separate from the Museum, nominates the artists for induction. A larger panel then votes annually from the list of nominees.

Related: 100 legends that continue to be overlooked

Work began on the 50,000 square-foot addition with the City of Cleveland in early 2019 to secure the land between the Rock Hall and the Science Center, a one-acre plot. This land can accommodate approximately 65,000 square-feet of museum expansion. The Rock Hall is already embedded into Cleveland’s landscape; as a main driver for the regional economy, it brought an estimated $240 million in economic impact on the region last year.

The Times notes the Museum had originally embarked on a $55 million capital campaign for renovations, but the financial cost will reach $100 million. With the help of trustees, the Hall has raised $73 million.

Still, the Times reports, the pandemic put a $14 million dent in its revenues, and the museum was forced to lay off nearly 50 employees.

It’s a huge moment for the Hall — the expansion will fix a longstanding challenge of the building and allow for more space to host concerts and community events. PAU will actively drive schematic designs throughout 2021. Construction will launch in early 2022.

Related: Even more crucial omissions

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4 Comments so far

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  1. Michael P.
    #1 Michael P. 21 December, 2020, 10:26

    Yes, well, they will need to expand to make room for all of the inductees that have little or nothing to do with rock & roll.

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  2. JCB
    #2 JCB 21 December, 2020, 12:41

    The R+R Hall is a disgraceful fraud, and having been there not nearly as fulfilling as I would have expected. So many amazing artists / bands missing. Just one example, Paul Rodgers is not only considered by his peers as possibly the greatest R+R front man of all time, but the R+R press folks feel the same. But the clueless morons who decide who’s in or out have no moral or artistic conscience. Like “Notorious Big” has had a minuscule amount of influence within rock and roll history compared to Rodgers. Take a flame thrower to the mistake by the lake.

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  3. Rick
    #3 Rick 21 December, 2020, 18:07

    NONE of the bands from the last 20 years should EVEN be in there.

    Reply this comment
    • Greg Brodsky
      Greg Brodsky 21 December, 2020, 20:24

      Rick… If you’re talking about the Hall of Fame itself, artists aren’t eligible until 25 years after their first record has been released.

      Reply this comment

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