Rock `N' Roll in Cleveland

by Rita Robison, Contributing Editor; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th Street, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 2, Pg. 48-49

Document Type: Feature article


A glass tent, a cylinder perched on a single column, a collection of squares, rectangles, triangles and circles were amassed in and around a 167 ft tall tower by architect I.M. Pei to house the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Museum and Study Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Opened in September 1995, the steel-framed building is entirely sheathed in white metal panels except for the low-E glass in the tent, which is more like a lean-to than Pei's more famous glass pyramid entrances at the Louvre in Paris. The tent roof is supported by a grid of 16 steel trusses whose bowstrings are perpendicular to the roof plane and curve as much as 6.5 ft from it at their centers. The actual Hall of Fame occupies a mere fraction of the 143,000 sq ft building, perched atop the tower at level six and reached by a ceremonial double spiral staircase. At level four a trapezoidal box theater cantilevers 65 ft out over Lake Erie from the tower side opposite a large third-level cantilevered cylinder that is also supported by a single column that rises directly from the lake. The structure required two separate foundations, one completely submerged in the lake.

Subject Headings: Rocks | Ohio | United States

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