Architects and Architectural Firms





Robert D. Kohn, architect of the Tower Press Building formerly the Wooltex Factory was one of eight firms that were asked to submit plans for the Cleveland Public Library building. He was a forward thinking and articulate proponent of a coherent philosophy of industrial architecture. He plead for an honest dignified type of design for factories rather than the usual “beautification” in terms of false fronts to inept buildings within. Cleveland premier example is perhaps Nela Park, the industrial park designed for the National Electric Lamp Association (acquired later by General Electric). Nela Park was ultimately designed by a New York firm but there is a business environment consonant with the planning of neighborhoods and public squares Kohn was talking about. Mary Peale-Schofield’s description of the Kohn Wooltex Building (c 1909) is noteworthy as it is the Tower Press Building currently under renovation as a living-working pace for artists:

"A reform factory in reform architecture, this factory was built with the declared intention of creating pleasant surroundings for the workers, providing not only slow-burning construction of reinforced concrete, and proper ventilation and lighting, but a new artistic treatment. Instead of the usual fancy brick facing on the façade and the common brick on the back, common brick was used throughout, laid carefully with raked dark purple joints. The usual water tower was made a decorative feature with the stucco panels. Colored tiles were used under the main cornice, in the panels of the tower and in the entrance hall. The workrooms were stenciled in a simple geometric weaving pattern in two flat colors at the tops of the columns and at the ends of the transverse steel girders. The result is a humane factory building..."


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