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(re)Marketing Modernism: the revision of an iconic mid-century, mixed-use hotel
Tubb, Shawn Patrick

2009, MARCH, University of Cincinnati, Design, Architecture, Art and Planning : Architecture (Master of).

The Terrace Plaza Hotel was completed in 1948 by Cincinnati real estate developers, the Thomas Emery’s Sons Co. and the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. John J. Emery had previously completed the Carew Tower and Netherland Plaza project and it was one of the first major commissions for SOM. Because of its significance as one of the first International Style hotels in the world and the most technologically advanced of its time, it needs to be preserved and reused. The Terrace Plaza is also important because it included commissions of modern art by Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Saul Steinberg and Jim Davis, as well as the contributions of many designers including Natalie de Blois, Morris Lapidus, Abe Feder and Marianne Strengell.

The twenty-story, mixed-use building (originally hotel, department stores, restaurants) has been neglected and unappreciated for years, many of its important spaces and defining features are altered, and its fate is uncertain. Recent proposals included removing sections of the brick curtain wall and in October 2008 the hotel closed, making it even more important to seek its listing on the National Register and to find an appropriate adaptive use for the building that will preserve its character while ensuring that it gains greater appreciation and is used for years to come.


The challenge of this thesis is to document the history of the Terrace Plaza, telling its story through various media. This will help market the building to potential developers and to the public so that additional stakeholders will begin advocating its preservation. The scope includes proposals for reprogramming the entire building; restoration/rehabilitation of the building’s exterior and key public spaces; and using various interventions to help revive the energy and enthusiasm this building once created. Recommendations for the restoration and reuse were carefully made using a methodology incorporating principles of preservation philosophy, economic development, environmental sustainability and historical/cultural significance. The revision of the Terrace Plaza has the potential of helping make it not only an important component of Cincinnati’s built environment once again, but a global leader in the preservation of Modernism.


Elizabeth Riorden (Committee Chair)
John Hancock (Committee Co-Chair)
Patrick Snadon (Committee Member)
Jeff Tilman (Committee Member)
Natalie de Blois (Other)
212 p.

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Tubb, S. (2009). (re)Marketing Modernism: the revision of an iconic mid-century, mixed-use hotel. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Tubb, Shawn. "(re)Marketing Modernism: the revision of an iconic mid-century, mixed-use hotel." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2009. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 15 Nov 2018.

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Tubb, Shawn "(re)Marketing Modernism: the revision of an iconic mid-century, mixed-use hotel." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2009. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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