William Gould Interview, November 17 2006

William Gould was born in Lakewood, Ohio in 1930 and began working as an architect in Cleveland starting in the late 1950s, serving on Cleveland's Planning Commission for a period early in his career. In this 2006 interview, Gould talks extensively about the development of Downtown Cleveland, discussing the 1959 Downtown Plan on which he worked, as well as earlier plans to install a subway beneath Euclid Avenue. In addition, he discusses Cleveland's Euclid Avenue, recalling past memories of the street and discussing the contemporary Euclid Corridor Transportation Project. He cites the decline of retail and residential structures on Euclid Avenue as a major cause for its decline and suggests a major rebuilding plan for the street. Gould also stresses the importance of Cleveland's artistic community to the vitality of the city and urges city leaders to be more creative in coming up with ideas for Cleveland's development.

Participants: Gould, William (interviewee) / Gibans, Nina (interviewer) / Yanoshik-Wing, Emma (participant)
Collection: American Institute of Architects
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Interview Transcript

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:00:00] Okay.

Nina Gibans [00:00:00] Okay. So I'm Nina Gibans and this is Bill Gould. And we're gonna talk about Euclid Avenue and anything else Bill would like to talk about. Starting, though, with you, the architect, the best thing would be to trace back to where you grew up...

William Gould [00:00:25] Okay.

Nina Gibans [00:00:25] How you became an architect, where you went to architecture school, what was the influence, that kind of thing. And then we'll get to...

William Gould [00:00:31] Oh, all right. Well, I was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. I was born in 1930. And when one mentions Euclid Avenue, I was there on V-E Day. So I remember a joyous occasion. V-E and V-J. And as a young man, we moved to Shaker Heights. So I graduated actually high school from Shaker Heights High, and with no particular direction in mind, I went to the University of Michigan. Unfortunately, today's the Ohio State–Michigan, one and two game. And I read in the paper there's 3,000 University of Michigan alumni in the area and 26,000 Ohio State. So we're sort of playing it low, low key. And getting into architecture was, well, something I discovered in college that there's architects, and I was always involved with the arts, painting and sculpting and so forth with the Institute of Art. So that seemed to be a pretty good career to take. So but once you're in it, you can't get out. [laughs]

Nina Gibans [00:01:46] You were at the Institute of Art?

William Gould [00:01:49] In the high school programs, Saturday programs, that kind of thing. Yes. And I'm trying to think. Eckert, we, I had classes with her, I recall.

Nina Gibans [00:02:03] So you were...

William Gould [00:02:03] And John Terrell.

Nina Gibans [00:02:04] You were drawing there.

William Gould [00:02:06] Drawing and sculpting.

Nina Gibans [00:02:08] John Terrell and...

William Gould [00:02:09] And Idris Eckert. I remember her as a teacher, right. Actually, at Shaker, they had Bates, who was an enamelist, who was their art teacher there. So I was always involved in art.

Nina Gibans [00:02:27] Okay. Back to architecture at Michigan.

William Gould [00:02:30] Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan. I graduated there, 1952, five years, went on to the military, Air Force, came out, worked for a little while, then went back to... First I went to spent a summer in France at Ecole des Beaux-Arts [inaudible], touring France and studying with American students at Fontainebleau Architecture, which was a very rewarding summer. And from there, I went on to Cranbrook Academy in Detroit, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and spent a year and a half at the architectural studio at Cranbrook. Cranbrook Academy, as you may or may not know, was founded by the Saarinen family, funded by the Booth family, which are the newspaper people. That was built in the 1920s as a enclave of the Arts and Crafts movement, but an enclave for artists to thrive. And it still exists today, and it's developed quite a nice reputation.

Nina Gibans [00:03:43] Were you... Did you work with Saarinen?

William Gould [00:03:48] Though, this is in the '50s, the father had passed away maybe two years before. The son had his office down the street. And so we had a lecture now and then by the son, but he was... Those studios are different. There's no teachers, there's lectures and visiting and so forth. People like Aldon Dow and Chips and that, and that nature. It was a wonderful experience to be there. And they have had some interesting graduates over the years, Edmund Bacon, particularly in the planning and other things, and so I enjoyed that. Then I came back to Cleveland. I did two things. One, I worked for Byers Hays. Hays and Ruth, who are the architects well-known in this area at the time. And the project was the Cleveland Museum of Art, which is now under its renovation. That was the, known as the 1967 expansion. And some of those wonderful stairs and galleries are all going to be gone. But that's what I worked on for a year and a half. Remains there. You remember that?

Nina Gibans [00:05:02] So we have Hubbell?

William Gould [00:05:06] Benes and... Hubbell and Benes were the first.

Nina Gibans [00:05:07] The first?

William Gould [00:05:08] The first expansion was Hays and Ruth.

Nina Gibans [00:05:10] Okay.

William Gould [00:05:11] And that was done in the early, late '50s, early '60s.

Nina Gibans [00:05:16] And that's what you participated in.

William Gould [00:05:18] Right. And then the Breuer came after that.

Nina Gibans [00:05:21] Yeah. And then there was van Dijk.

William Gould [00:05:22] And van Dijk, yes. Mm hmm.

Nina Gibans [00:05:24] Okay.

William Gould [00:05:25] And then after that, talking about Euclid Avenue, I went to work for the City of Cleveland Planning Commission. And at that time, Jim Lister was the chairman or the planning director. People like Ernie Bohn were on the commission. It was very energetic. And I was working with a bunch of people who were very hopeful about the future of Cleveland. Don't forget, this is the late '50s. And so projects were developed like University Circle. That was the first time that was introduced as a planning project at the city, having to work on that. But the most exciting project was the Downtown Cleveland plan, which was done in 1958-59, of which Euclid Avenue was the central spine of that plan.

Nina Gibans [00:06:23] Does that relate to the subway?

William Gould [00:06:25] Yes. As you may recall, Cleveland's population voted for a subway. Think in 1948. $18 million. And that was to go up Euclid Avenue, swing up 14th Street, come through the Terminal, and then swing up 14th Street and go back onto the main line. And that was the spine. And the city had these consultants that were helping plan, outsiders, people like Ed Bacon and Buecher and quite a distinguished bunch of planning consultants that were advising. And that's... That was the number one—mass transit up Euclid Avenue. Now that time, there were five department stores. Halle's was at one end and Higbee's was at the other. And that was at the same time that the county commissioner, county engineer Porter proposed the new interstate highway system. Same time. So a battle erupted. But the transit system was a Cleveland city, I don't know, sort of a private operation in the Cleveland. There was not the regional transit system, and transit was weak as far as a second, as a competing method of transportation. So the fight went on between Porter, this county engineer and his highway system, and the transit people who wanted the subway and had the vote of the people. So they had some hearings, which I attended. Here's my recollection of Euclid and you got me going now. And spokesman for the subway along Euclid Avenue for it were people who were in the Playhouse Square area, like Halle's. People were against it were people in Public Square like Higbee's, and they voiced their oppositions and so forth. And that was primarily for competing reasons that really Higbee's didn't want Halle's to have a rapid stop. That's my take on it. And so it was voted down by the commissioners to implement that $18 million. And so it sat. And the prediction of Edmund Bacon at that time there, his prediction that if there were no subway, that ultimately the department stores would be gone and the downtown would ultimately shrink, to—he didn't say abandoned—but shrink to a very minor role. And it looks like today his prediction was pretty close. That's a sad story.

Nina Gibans [00:09:09] Right. And Bacon went on to do his things in Philadelphia.

William Gould [00:09:13] Philadelphia. Ed Bacon was became quite the Philadelphia Plain director, had a wonderful life. He recently passed away. In planning, he was the planning director for the city of Philadelphia and revived many, many projects there.

Nina Gibans [00:09:28] Okay. We've had different perspectives on that, but that's a very complete picture of what went on. All right. From that time on, we have still Euclid Avenue bobbling away.

William Gould [00:09:44] [laughs] Right.

Nina Gibans [00:09:45] But why don't you talk about the buildings you like?

William Gould [00:09:50] Along Euclid Avenue primarily? Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:09:52] This is Euclid Avenue now. Your favorite buildings, buildings that were there and maybe should not have been torn down, and... [crosstalk]

William Gould [00:10:03] Well, okay. Well, I always relate to this this plan, which I worked on. So I have a little bias there. But Public Square was always a key feature. And so at that time, Public Square was enclosed with buildings, not as it is today. They tore down, of course, the, where the BP building is now there was a fine building there called the Cuyahoga Building, and the northwest corner, which is now parking lots, there were some, not distinguished buildings, but at least as an urban space, Public Square really worked. And of course, with the subway running under Public Square up Euclid, we had designed schematically several levels of stores and shops below Public Square to really make that a thriving center. And so that had a great future for us, the Public Square in that time. So the loss of those buildings, maybe they, of course, from a real estate point of view, we're hopeful to fill those holes back up. But I think that was a terrible loss to the community in the way it was done, all those buildings. And I think what was replaced was not necessarily as good as what they tore down. So the Public Square as a public space was prime in the nation. It was really looked upon as very unique. But as soon as it came apart, then it lost its importance.

Nina Gibans [00:11:42] What about the current planning for Public Square?

William Gould [00:11:46] Well, I don't know if there is any.

Nina Gibans [00:11:47] Well.

William Gould [00:11:48] Which one?

Nina Gibans [00:11:48] Traffic pattern. Change in traffic pattern.

William Gould [00:11:51] Oh, the current... I'm not really familiar with what's happening except the Public Square is going to be the terminus of the Euclid Corridor. And you hear rumors, you know, they want to replan the planting schemes, maybe close off a quadrant of the Square, things of that nature, but as far as I know, those are rumors. And to put those into effect is pretty difficult. So the Square as it is today, if they can develop particularly the northwest corner it would be a distinct improvement if they can do that, if developers... And I guess the Bob Stark plan does propose to develop that area. So that would be an important input. And Bob is a very energetic developer who has been very successful in the retail business and so he may be the man to do it. I don't know about his architectural bent, but he has his heart in the right place. I think he's got to be encouraged. And other buildings on Euclid... There's another part of this downtown plan that was interesting. The... At that time Fenn College was Fenn College, and the plan projected that part of the city to be developed as an institute of higher education, but we didn't know what it was or would be. So after the plan was done, we had reserved land for this higher education, in my private practice, we developed a program for a major state university, which was in effect Cleveland State. At that time, it was just a proposal and the use of land. And a gentleman by the name of Albert Levin owned a major parking lot in the middle of this plan. So this was during the Rhodes administration and his program of disseminating universities throughout the state, because at that time there was just Ohio State, Kent, no state university in Cleveland. And so that concept, Fenn College behind it, was sold to Rhodes to become the beginning of Cleveland State University. And the key piece of land in that was a land owned by Albert Levin, who was paid a handsome price. That developer was paid a handsome price for that piece of land. But being the gentleman or generous person he was through his wife, who became very much a supporter of Cleveland, he donated to a good deal of that money to the College of Urban Affairs. So that's where that money came from, from that lot [laughs] that sat at the middle of Cleveland State, which is now full of buildings. So that's an interesting history. So we had a little organization called the Euclid Innerbelt Association, which sort of sponsored and developed a little plan at that time, which was used as a basis for the Cleveland State University.

Nina Gibans [00:14:59] What years are you talking about there?

William Gould [00:15:02] This is from probably 1959, which is when the plan came out. Through the mid-'60s. I don't know when CSU became CSU, I think in the late '60s. Does anyone remember? But that was... That was... That was how it happened. From my end of the... From the planning point of view and then the architecture of those buildings developed by certain local firm. And that was the so-called urban architecture of the time, the mega building. And as we see it today, it wasn't too successful, I don't think.

Nina Gibans [00:15:41] Are you talking about the Hisaka building?

William Gould [00:15:43] Well, that whole... No, the whole concept from from 18th Street down to the Innerbelt. I mean, how that was all put together in a very dense... And I realize that's all the land they had. But how it was put together and how it relates to the street, you know, the openness of it and so forth. You know, so one side of Euclid Avenue, the development, and the other side is sort of the campus are the student side, which is sort of now starting to begin to change with the university's building on the other side of the street on the south side. But so I don't...

Nina Gibans [00:16:19] On the Chester side.

William Gould [00:16:20] No, they're starting to build on the north side of Euclid Avenue...

Nina Gibans [00:16:22] I see what you're talking about.

William Gould [00:16:24] Where they used to have a....

Nina Gibans [00:16:25] Where Mather Mansion is.

William Gould [00:16:26] Yes. Yeah. But across the street, they're putting up the faculty center and the new... So they're starting to build across the street. So that's, that's good. But years ago, that was... There were apartments over there and people lived there. It was sort of interesting. People lived there. Yeah. So the university expansion now is pretty heavy. And it did displace people living in Cleveland, and that was... Of course,iIt gave rise to the old saying urban renewal is people removal and that, and after that, that's what, the '60s and '70s, urban renewal wasn't so popular. Wasn't so popular. But that was the beginning of Cleveland State, which was to be the terminus in that subway idea. That would be the eastern, the eastern terminus. The western would be Terminal Tower and the retail. Now, at that time, the warehouse district wasn't even assigned a task. It was just an abandoned old set of buildings. Wasn't even looked at. That's the time, of course, Higbee's started a little, rented a little building down there in the Flats, if you remember the Higbee's, and out of that, we, later in our, in my career, we did a feasibility study on the warehouse district which evolved into what it is today.

Nina Gibans [00:17:51] That was very important for that development.

William Gould [00:17:55] Right.

Nina Gibans [00:17:55] I remember. Bill, let's go back to your childhood though in case you remember Euclid Avenue...

William Gould [00:18:02] Yes.

Nina Gibans [00:18:03] As a child. Do you?

William Gould [00:18:05] Oh, yes.

Nina Gibans [00:18:06] Okay.

William Gould [00:18:07] I'm trying to think.

Nina Gibans [00:18:08] Did you take the streetcar? What did you do?

William Gould [00:18:11] Well, yes, I took the streetcar. Actually, I went to, did my Sunday school at a place you know, at a place called the Euclid Avenue Temple on 82nd Street. And I lived in Lakewood, Ohio, so I would hop a streetcar on Detroit Avenue. And heck, it's Madison or Detroit Avenue and Arthur Avenue, and took the streetcar three times a week to 82nd and Euclid. And you took the streetcar across the bridge in the second level. Well, that was always fun looking down at the river. And you got off the streetcar [at] Public Square and you got on another streetcar and you took that streetcar out to 82nd, and that was about an hour, an hour and a half ride, three times a week. [laughs]

Nina Gibans [00:19:01] That's a lot of travel.

William Gould [00:19:03] It is.

Nina Gibans [00:19:03] On that transit. So are there things that you noticed then that...

William Gould [00:19:09] Well, it was... It was always a fun experience because I was in junior high and high school. But I remember, for example, on Easter, everyone in town would dress up and do the Easter parade. East Side, West Side, and we'd parade up and down the Avenue, promenade, and I remember doing that with my folks. That was an important day. And of course, Christmas, going and looking at the windows, Santa Claus at Higbee's, big tree at Sterling Lindner Davis, right? The big tree there. So yeah, I remember those times.

Nina Gibans [00:19:46] Any food memories?

William Gould [00:19:49] Eh, no. Oh, yeah, we ate at the Silver Grille. Of course. I hated shopping. My mother would always shop downtown. That was the place to shop for clothes. I remember I had an uncle that worked in the men's department at May Company, so we would always go down and get me my clothes and I would always, you know, hide or get away from this shopping because I just couldn't, you know, stand particularly women's shopping. [laughs] But that was the shopping street. That's where you did your clothing shopping. No question about it. There was no suburban there, suburbs. Yeah, that was there were no suburbs. There was no interstate system. Those days are no longer in Cleveland. But other cities have preserved that, like Chicago and New York. The pedestrianization of the center city.

Nina Gibans [00:20:46] Is that what you hope for the future, when you think for the future?

William Gould [00:20:50] Of our Cleveland? Well, I don't know. It's... I think that's... That's out... That answer is out. I can't predict. I know that from our work today that building out retail housing is called going on pell mell. Look at the... I go to Lorain a lot, the West Side, go to the East Side. You look at the freeways in the morning, which way those automobiles are going. And so the extent of sprawl or the extent of moving out, I don't call sprawl bad, I think it's just what people all want, the marketplace wants, is going pell mell. I mean, they're still building Targets now in Vermillion, and and they're going further and further out. So the future of the center city is going to have to change. To what? I don't know. But I don't think Euclid Avenue will stay the same as it is now with those tall buildings, you know, the historic buildings? You know, one thing, we had a Dutch conference here last year, AIA? We invited some folks from Holland in—I don't know if you attended that—and what are they remarks was which [interesting] is this city looks so old! Now these people are from Amsterdam and Rotterdam. So I'm probably speaking heresy, but I think the preservation movement has not used a lot of discretion in what they've preserved. And I think we should see more modern or contemporary architecture of its time, and it should be on Euclid Avenue. So I think our mindset with this preservation is to be evaluated again.

Nina Gibans [00:22:37] Right. But are there mistakes we made with preservation?

William Gould [00:22:45] I don't know if I would call them mistakes. I think we've been overzealous in our race to preserve the old Cleveland. And I think we're preserving the old Cleveland in the days of the future has to be moderated. Looking at other cities and what they're doing to their main streets and the kinds of new buildings that are coming on stream. So not for me, but for our grandkids. They're going to find Euclid Avenue a lot different.

Nina Gibans [00:23:19] But you wouldn't tear down a Huntington building?

William Gould [00:23:26] Oh, no. I think you have to have discretion. But there's there's some buildings. I would.

Nina Gibans [00:23:31] Oh, okay. Talk about those.

William Gould [00:23:32] [laughs] I would say, I would tear down.... I would rebuild—I said tear down—I would rebuild. Our sites are fine sites of course. Of course, everything, let's see, on the, I would say, let's say the south side of Euclid, let's say from 9th Street all the way up to, let's say 4th Street. Well, maybe just little bit, they preserve the... They just... That's all land that which is now vacant and abandoned except the corner of Ninth Street. It should be rebuilt with new. And then the area on Euclid Avenue, I would say east of the Cleveland Trust, per county government building, up to the old Halle building and should be taken out and rebuilt.

Nina Gibans [00:24:23] Even the CAC Building?

William Gould [00:24:24] Yes. Yes. I don't think it's that exemplary. And then on the north side, even though it's all built and rehabbed, the old Statler building and our wonderful Union Club, I'd take that all out, all the way up to the theaters, restructure the streets all the way up. Now, listen, we're talking in the future, right? And our future, we're not gonna be around. So our future is, when I'm talking about this, I'm talking the next 50, 100 years. Those, those buildings won't, shouldn't be there.

Nina Gibans [00:25:01] So, am I hearing you correctly that you would take down the Schweinfurth building?

William Gould [00:25:06] Yeah. Which one?

Nina Gibans [00:25:08] The Union Club?

William Gould [00:25:09] Yes. Oh, yeah, I don't, I don't... It's got a lot of history. It's very wealthy, it's very sturdy, da-da, da-da, da-da, but fifty years from now, I don't think that should be there, fifty years from now. If it's gonna be in the way of a major project, of a major new project, I don't think anyone, any building in Cleveland that's that sacred. I mean, this isn't London.

Nina Gibans [00:25:35] Well, but let's talk about sacred buildings then. Are there any?

William Gould [00:25:43] If I'm projecting a hundred years from now, probably some of the churches, Terminal Tower, buildings of that nature. But over the years, I think they lose their importance as a historical monument.

Nina Gibans [00:25:59] Old Arcade?

William Gould [00:26:01] Possibly yeah. Possibly no. Have you been in there recently? It's not very active. Have you been downtown? I live downtown. You ever drive Euclid Avenue at 7:00 at night on a Saturday night or a Sunday?

Nina Gibans [00:26:15] On our way to Playhouse Square, yes.

William Gould [00:26:17] The other side from Euclid, from Public Square to Playhouse Square. Or a Sunday morning?

Nina Gibans [00:26:22] Okay.

William Gould [00:26:22] Oh, my goodness. There's no one there! I mean, no one, except the homeless. That's a pretty... That's a statement of downtown Cleveland today. Let's face it.

Nina Gibans [00:26:34] All right. So you live just off Eucild?

William Gould [00:26:37] Yeah, right.

Nina Gibans [00:26:39] Let's move to where you live now because you experience it in a different way. Where do you go and shop and what do you use in the downtown area?

William Gould [00:26:50] Well, we're quite happy where we are. There's places to shop. We shop at Dave's on Payne or we go over to the West Side Market, which is a wonderful place to shop, and when we want certain other things, we get like everyone else in the car and we go out to Heinen's or someplace unique in the East Side or the West Side. So central. No, no place, no concern for places to eat, whether it's Oriental, Italian, American. There's a multitude of places to eat. Wanna not drive? Bus routes, Saint Clair, Euclid, Superior. Buses are running all the time.

Nina Gibans [00:27:29] All right, so.

William Gould [00:27:30] I got some beefs, though. [laughs]

Nina Gibans [00:27:31] Right. Yeah, I hear you. You have been most active in housing for artists.

William Gould [00:27:40] Yes.

Nina Gibans [00:27:42] And that population is a special population. We'll talk about that. But let's talk about other populations who need to be living downtown.

William Gould [00:27:49] Yes. Well, last night, I'm on the board of the Warehouse District, been on the board since we created it and since 1975. And as you know, the Warehouse District has just blossomed. It's a... It's a great place. People live there. We were out last night with a fellow that's... And his wife had just retired, so there's a place for old seniors there. They enjoy it. They enjoy the movies at the... And they enjoy jazz. They enjoy the clubs. And it's just a wonderful place for them. Always action. And there's... They have three kinds of people that go to the Warehouse District. The... Like people like us, they go up to 10:00, have their dinner, right? Early birds. Then there's the 10 to 12. Those are the kids that are coming in, working singles and couples. And then they got the 12 to 2, the party givers. And this place really jumps. It's amazing. It's wonderful.

Nina Gibans [00:28:55] The Warehouse District?

William Gould [00:28:55] Oh, yeah. Yeah. Am I talking too much? Okay, so that's... That's... But, you know, how many warehouse districts can you have downtown? Not many. Then the other sad part of it would be the Galleria, which at one time was a very lively retail place. Today it's basically occupied with the low end of the rental scale, which are frankly art galleries and fast food places and nonprofits. And of course, the people just disappeared from going there. Yet there's still office buildings around there. But the offices, they're housing what? Attorneys, accountants, government people. But they broke ground last week for the Avenues. They're gonna put up $400,000 cost housing, the Zaremba people, and penthouses at a hundred thou... at a million dollars. God bless 'em. They're gonna go ahead and transform that area. And that's what you need.

Nina Gibans [00:30:02] All right. That area is?

William Gould [00:30:04] It's gonna be from East 12th eastward to maybe 17th Street, those parking lots. And from Saint Clair up to Superior. And they broke ground, they're building. So if you can get... And of course, you have, what do they call it, Reserve Square. Folks are living there, the old Chesterfield. So there's people living there. You have to have people living downtown and then the retail will come. But the people come first, the living people. And they're catering to... Who's buying there? They're all people coming [from] out of town who are used to cities like this. You know, it's an interesting little side story about Cleveland. I hear it from my computer friends who are in our building and elsewhere. You know, Cleveland is known as the India of the USA. Well, what are you talking about? Well, we are the poorest city in the country. We have a high amount of technology. Our housing prices are low. Our living, costs of living is low. So if you compare us to New York City or Los Angeles or Boston, where you can't buy a house for less than a half a million dollars, we're the low price spread, and companies are now realizing that. And companies now, particularly in the computer industry, beginning to move their people into Cleveland because of the cost of living is moderate. So there is a future for us.

Nina Gibans [00:31:38] You're right. You've had some visions of different areas, to say the least. So do you want to talk about some of those related to downtown, related to the city, related to... Isn't the lakefront also one vision?

William Gould [00:31:58] Oh, yes, and of course... Or, well, that's what's happening with the lake. They have... Not only here in Cleveland, but all the port cities along the lake, which we're working on, in city planning, the old ports, which were mainly built by, for industry, for commerce, shipping, they're all disappearing, particularly in the Great Lakes because the steel industry, although they still bring in the ore boats and the lime boats, but it's not as active as it used to be. Water transportation isn't as active. So as these ports age, they are being turned into public places for housing, public access, boating, recreation, entertainment. And so what the plan in Cleveland is proposing is really happening to all the major cities on the lakes. Lorain as well, Toledo, Erie, and on and on. However, they're still going to be shipping. So the shipping ports or the industrial ports are going to move and change and be rebuilt. So as the plan for the downtown, for our lakefront emerged, as you can see, the role of the port as a place of business and industry is disappearing. It's very small. That's got to be rebuilt someplace. Same thing in Lorain, where the the port was a big ore center, you know, and no, no longer. So that's what's going to be happening in the future, I think, of the use of the Great Lakes. And for example, I know a story where the steel mills, which are still working in Lorain, they can bring coke in from China cheaper than they make coke in this country. Can you believe that? So there's boats coming... There's boats coming through the Seaway from China carrying coke to Lorain, Ohio. That's global. That's what's going on. So when you ask for vision, yeah, I think the lakefronts are all goinna change. I think our dispersion of cities is going to continue. And I think probably the futurist that had the greatest vision that's probably the closest to it was Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City, where he proposed within the freeway systems, you know, an acre of land for every family. And people want their turf. People want to own their property in this country. That's, that's sacred. And so they're gonna continue moving out, buying a piece of land and building on it. And I don't think the... Some, sure, the densities will develop in certain cities, like where the work is like New York and Chicago. But I don't think it's the future of Cleveland. I think the sprawl in Akron is going to continue. So the cities... The center cities will shrink and be regenerated, as it is now. As it is now. And then you have these little centers like the Cleveland Clinic. But you look at the... I saw Norm Krumholtz the other day. He would have never expected the, after the Hough riots, that it would be rebuilt the way it is now with new housing. Chester would ever emerge as it is now with new housing. He would never have imagined that twenty years ago after the Hough, after the riots, and it's being infilled with housing and people are moving back. So my vision is a shrinking core and an expanding residential base. And then the place to work is going to be scattered, you know, it'll be offices or in the house. You know, you mentioned my movement in the live-work. I don't know what the percentages are, but it's increasing, of how many people live and work in their houses, home occupations or corporates that don't want to spend, put people into office buildings. You're in your car or in your house with your computer and you don't need to go in. So I think in the future, I think Canada's a good example, I think, is Canada, 50% of the working population or better live and work in their home or their residence, 50% of the working population. And I think that's the trend of this country. [sound of tapping on microphone]

Nina Gibans [00:36:26] All right.

William Gould [00:36:32] What else? You hear me...

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:36:35] I'm just going to interrupt you for a second because I can hear the...

William Gould [00:36:38] Oh. Oh, should't do it. Okay.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:36:40] Thank you. Sorry!

William Gould [00:36:40] Thank you. Now, you got me talking now, right? What was your next question? [laughs] Visions.

Nina Gibans [00:36:50] Emma, do you have some questions?

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:37:04] I guess, just, I'm curious, do you have a favorite project that you've ever worked on? Like one that you kind of hold up and....

William Gould [00:37:13] Oh.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:37:14] Either as your, how you feel about the end product, project, product, or just one that you had a lot of fun with, I mean.

William Gould [00:37:23] You know, the standard answer of an architect that is just the next project project's gonna be the greatest one, the next one. But the most fun... I think I had the most fun with rebuilding the Shaker Rapid transit system and the little house on Shaker Square, the little transit station on Shaker Square, that was a lot of fun. Took a long time and we had to go through the historic restoration people and RTA when they are fighting East Side, West Side. But we finally fought it through, became, got a state award, AIA award for its design. It's contemporary, but it recalls the historical nature of Shaker Square. And I really, really enjoyed that project. Small, very small, little building, under $1,000,000. Projects don't have to be big to be good. So that was a fun project. Still standing, too.

Nina Gibans [00:38:18] Oh, it's wonderful, Michael's is a wonderful place. It gets better and better.

William Gould [00:38:23] Yeah.

Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:38:25] How do you feel about... You talked about some of the renovation that you worked on with the, at the Museum of Art, how do you feel about the current, the current work taking out something you did?

William Gould [00:38:37] Oh. [laughs] Well, I'm really not that familiar with the new, you know, the new plan. So it's difficult to say. I will probably speak heresy here, but I'm just not a great fan of Breuer's institutional buildings. I think his houses are terrific, his furniture's terrific, Breuer. I don't, I'm not that crazy about his bigger buildings. So, you know, saving it, I know it's a... It's important to the historical point of saving the Breuer building, but I don't know if it's... I really enjoyed the addition, but it's not great architecture. You know, the addition that I worked on, it was done by local guys, so that probably took a little of the allure away from it. Probably in the wrong place in terms of the big, big atrium that they're going to have.

Nina Gibans [00:39:37] Okay. The...

William Gould [00:39:38] I shouldn't... You're going to report this? My feelings on Breuer, they'll drum me out of the corps. [laughs]

Nina Gibans [00:39:45] No. We all love the art museum for different reasons. Bill, is ever present in the past, painting Wednesday nights.

William Gould [00:39:55] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:39:55] Right? And I would have my classes there and I see Bill painting away.

William Gould [00:40:00] I'm a copyist. But that's how the painters learn. And they would set up and paint the classics, then try to interpret it, you know. Now they don't let you do it. But of course, during the construction, I hope, I hope it'll return.

Nina Gibans [00:40:16] Oh, I hope so. I hope a lot of things will return. Tell me again what the expansion was that Hays did while you were there.

William Gould [00:40:27] Well, they... Everything from the old building, you know, the white Bennes building, all the way up to... It's includes the restaurant on the ground floor, the bookstore, that gallery.

Nina Gibans [00:40:41] So this would be the Byzantine area and the Greek area...

William Gould [00:40:45] That's right.

Nina Gibans [00:40:46] And the Egyptian area and...

William Gould [00:40:47] They enclosed the... They enclosed the court as you see it now. Their building was a "U" and closed the court. And then of course there was a stair that went up and the old entrance was... Well, it wasn't prominent. At that time, this was... Who was the director of the museum at that time? I forgot his name.

Nina Gibans [00:41:08] Milliken?

William Gould [00:41:08] Milliken. And yeah, I have memories of meetings with Byers Hays and Milliken screaming and hollering at each other, developing that wonderful scheme. And it was done... And it was done... That's why I say local folks were involved. Now, it's hard to say what's going on because, you know, it's being run by others. Not local. That's sort of a shame, too, if you're talking about local history that all the major, major projects, building projects are not being done by local firms.

Nina Gibans [00:41:40] It's the trend in museum building these days.

William Gould [00:41:43] Yeah. Well, it's image building, you know. Yeah. Well, not only museums, but even the major office buildings like the Clinic buildings, the new, even the new county office building, right? They had to bring in an outside firm to join up with a local firm.

Nina Gibans [00:42:00] Right. But Madison is local but...

William Gould [00:42:02] Yeah.

Nina Gibans [00:42:02] Yeah, right.

William Gould [00:42:07] So it's hard to build a strong local architectural community with that, that, with the client taking that point of view. It's difficult.

Nina Gibans [00:42:15] Right. Well, and the question has been asked by people like Steve Litt as to why people like Frank Lloyd Wright didn't have their offices here. And, you know, major architects...

William Gould [00:42:31] Didn't emerge here? Did not?

Nina Gibans [00:42:34] Why didn't they have their offices here? Well, if they do, we don't know. But Chicago, of course...

William Gould [00:42:42] Well, yeah, certain cities have, as I recall at Cranbrook, that down the street was the Saarinen office thriving away. They were doing the TWA terminal. And then down the street a little further was the Yamasaki office and they were doing the World Trade tower. So that was gravitated... That gravitated a whole group of young people here, Pete van Dijk. Of course, Pelli was working there and a lot of young people that emerged into the world as leaders. So that was a real exciting time. And just gathering, you know, at the local beer hall—this is what the artists do—and exchanging ideas. That's, that's where creativity is generated. And that was fun.

Nina Gibans [00:43:27] Right. Now, you're having fun with the art space, though.

William Gould [00:43:31] Oh, yes.

Nina Gibans [00:43:31] And the artists who have joined you there, how many now?

William Gould [00:43:36] Well, we have every year in the area, called City Artists at Work. It's open studios. So this last one, we had over fifty artists in ten buildings, within from the Plain Dealer building, 18th Street up to 40th Street between Superior, Saint Clair. And those are just the people that opened their studios. There's many, many more. Just in our building, well it's full. Oh, let's see, it's about ten artists are in the studios, live-work and just studios. So it's starting to... As long as it's affordable. And this is the key, affordability. As soon as it becomes hip—this is the history of it all—and the developer, the real estate interests come in, and those people who think, oh, that's an exciting area, we'll live there, and they're not in the arts—artists really aren't wealthy—then the artists leave. I mean, what happened is Soho is pretty typical.

Nina Gibans [00:44:41] Very classic. Yeah.

William Gould [00:44:44] So as long as it remains affordable, it'll continue. And then as soon as it...

Nina Gibans [00:44:48] Is there still room in your building?

William Gould [00:44:50] It's getting less and less. There are still some vacant buildings around that could be converted. And we've been looking, and we have a small grant, Art Space from Ohio Arts Council, to develop a ownership building. If the artists own their buildings, then they're not subject to the, you know, the raised rents and the real estate speculation. So we're trying to develop that. It's difficult. Affordable, I keep throwing that out. Affordable isn't slickk. Affordable is affordable. It's not... I was looking at some developers who are marketing their buildings for artists, and they had wonderful sanded new floors and they had granite table, sink tops and wonderful fixtures. And I says, artists are gonna dirty the floors. Stop that. You know? The first thing an artist does, he's gonna throw paint on that beautiful floor. So you really got to understand the needs of the artist.

Nina Gibans [00:45:48] Yeah. Well, you've been a... You've been a spearhead on those kinds of ideas. Is there anything else you want to talk about?

William Gould [00:46:03] Well, let's see. Let me think about that. I did a lot of talking today, so maybe, maybe I should stop. But I think the future of the city and the future of Cleveland, we have to be much... We have to be more, I guess you call it, flexible and more creative. I just don't think we've... The leadership of this town, whether it's political or even the financia, it's really... And even the nonprofit groups, the community development groups, they're, they're really not that creative. What they coming up [with] is, you know, what they did in Chicago or what they did in Boston. What's, what's Cleveland? What's unique to Cleveland that could be exciting to the world? You know, they haven't come up with this. So, there's plenty of room for creativity in this town, and so we should work on that.

Nina Gibans [00:46:55] Who are some of the most creative people?

William Gould [00:46:57] Here in town?

Nina Gibans [00:46:58] Mm hmm.

William Gould [00:46:58] Oh, boy. Well, I think the Institute of Art is trying with their new programs to produce artists that are thinking sort of, as they say, out of the box. I had lunch the other day with the gentleman who's in charge of foundation planning at the Cleveland Institute of Art, he's from Stuttgart, and he says, well, you know, learning to draw is just developing the image. The ultimate is transforming that image into a useful part in life. And so I think the Institute of Artist is changing. I think these Cleveland... The schools of engineering, oh, just the schools, Case and CSU, they're the ones that are [going to] have to lead the way. That's where the creativity is going to come out of. And so it's up to the universities to stimulate this, although I don't I think the academics and the business world aren't together on this.

Nina Gibans [00:47:53] What about places like the Kent School of Architecture?

William Gould [00:47:57] Yeah, I mentioned that. Kent is trying to make a statement in Cleveland. I think it's admirable that their architecture and urban design is in the city. That's beginning. You know, it was unfortunate when Western Reserve, Case lost their school of architecture. That was an unfortunate happening. And so we do need a school here, no question about that.

Nina Gibans [00:48:22] Okay.

William Gould [00:48:23] Yeah, I think you... Think we touched on all of the hot buttons, right? Parks. Got to talk about parks and recreation.

Nina Gibans [00:48:30] Well, you want...

William Gould [00:48:31] Got to talk about... Well, it's sort of interesting. Someone said, you know, there's a limit to money for all these plans and programs, the lakefront program, you know, where's the money coming from? Well, there's money flowing in other cities, unbelievably, you know, in their growth. So the funds, where there's a will, the funds are there to rebuild. There's no limit there. It's just where the activity is. And Cleveland's got to go out there and compete on a global basis. Yeah. Well. 1:30 on the dot. Wonderful.

Nina Gibans [00:49:06] Thank you.

American Institute of Architects

The American Institute of Architects (Cleveland Chapter) Oral History Project. In 2006, in collaboration with Nina Friedlander Gibans, the Center began collecting oral history interviews with some of Cleveland’s best-known architects. 26 interviews in all were captured by Gibans and a team of researchers and students from the Center. These interviews help bring the city’s great buildings to life, and shine a light on current issues in architecture and urban design, making the series a major…