The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Unveils Expansion Plans

Practice for Architecture and Urbanism wins the competition to design a $100 million expansion of the I.M. Pei–designed landmark in Cleveland.

Practice for Architecture and Urbanism’s proposal to expand the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced that Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) has won a competition to design a $100 million expansion of the landmark in Cleveland.

Occupying an I.M. Pei–designed museum on the Lake Erie waterfront since 1995, the Rock Hall has long been embedded into Cleveland’s culture and economy, bringing an estimated $240 million in economic impact this past year. The foundation was outgrowing its 150,000-square-foot building, however, and five years ago started planning an expansion that would provide space for large-scale exhibitions, performances, and offices. “We wanted to host exhibitions like the Brooklyn Museum’s David Bowie show,” Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock Hall, tells the New York Times.

Enter PAU, the architecture firm founded by Vishaan Chakrabarti, who also serves as dean for the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. Out of 22 proposals, the Rock Hall selected PAU’s triangular scheme, which resembles a guitar pick slicing into the base of the pyramid. Chakrabarti describes the project’s theme as referencing seminal punk band The Clash, as well as carrying a “sense of grit” that reflects the genre’s enduring rebelliousness. The design firms Cooper Robertson, James Corner Field Operations, and L’Observatoire International will assist in the project. Construction is slated to begin in 2022.

“Rock and roll—like NASA and pizza—brings us together like few other cultural phenomena at this moment when your nation needs to come together,” says Vishaan Chakrabarti. “We’re beyond ecstatic to have been selected by the Rock Hall to design the expansion of I.M. Pei’s heart of glass, which sits aglow upon Cleveland’s storied industrial waterfront, particularly in light of the architectural luminaries against whom we had the honor of competing. This is PAU’s stairway to heaven.”

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