Cleveland Convention Center & Civic Core - Exterior

Cleveland Convention Center & Civic Core


Cleveland, Ohio


Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc

Collaborators +

Associate Architects: URS, Robert P Madison International

Design-Build Contractor: Turner Construction

Structural Engineering: Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Osborn Engineering

MEP Engineering: Karpinski Engineering

Civil Engineering: Osborn Engineering

Landscape Architecture: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Lighting Design: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design

Graphics/Signage: tbd creative LLC

Project Size

1,600,000 square feet

Project Status



Certified LEED New Construction Gold


Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Renovation + Adaptive Reuse, Urban Design

Cleveland’s civic center is one of the most completely realized examples of the City Beautiful movement in US city planning that flourished during the late 1800s. In 1903, architect/planner Daniel Burnham designed what became known as the Cleveland Mall—a large public park flanked by major civic and government buildings on a bluff above Lake Erie. One hundred years later, the new convention center complex continues Burnham’s original vision while reimagining it for the 21st Century, weaving together two public assembly facilities with civic green space to catalyze a dramatic revitalization of the downtown core.

Lined with neoclassical buildings from the early 20th Century, the 600,000-sf Mall overlooks the Lake Erie waterfront, adjacent to cultural resources such as the Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Burnham’s site plan links to a system of parks and green spaces extending beyond the bounds of the city, and functions as a connecting zone between multiple urban districts.

The first facility of its kind to be integrated with a convention center, the Global Center for Health Innovation provides a permanent showroom for Cleveland’s thriving medical research industry and a year-round anchor tenant for the convention center, adding new possibilities for convention planning and driving economic growth for the Northeast Ohio region.

Photography: Ed LaCasse, James Maguire

Cleveland Convention Center & Civic Core - Interior

The interior design of the convention center emphasizes white, clean, bright, and reflective elements, scattering daylight from clerestory windows and light wells to suffuse the below-grade spaces.

Cleveland Convention Center & Civic Core - Exterior
Cleveland Convention Center & Civic Core - Exterior

Given an extremely compressed schedule to produce what would become one of the most iconic elements in the design – the façade system for the Global Center for Health Innovation – LMN turned to its in-house LMN Tech Studio to explore an innovative approach. The group developed a 3D digital model of the façade, using parametric modeling techniques to quickly convert a hand sketch of the window pattern into a set of fabrication-ready glass and precast-concrete panels.

Selected Awards

2018 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region, Design Honor Award

2017 AIA National Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design

2015 AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards, Citation Award

2014 ENR Midwest, Best of 2014 Merit Award, Office/Retail/Mixed Use

2013 AIA Seattle Chapter, Honor Award

2013 Architect’s Newspaper, Best of the Year Design Award; Faade; Honorable Mention

2013 Architizer, Special Mention, Architecture + Fabrication

2013 Architizer, Special Mention, Architecture + Modeling

2012 AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards, Merit Award, Unbuilt Category

2012 AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards, Award of Merit, Unbuilt Category