the Hipp Deck

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, the top level of the 740 Euclid Avenue parking garage, located in Downtown Cleveland, was transformed into an open-air live performance venue and bustling public space. The event was a release party for the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's new book, Cleveland Stories: True Until Proven Otherwise (

In keeping with the book's focus on narrative-based approaches to urban design, the event told the story of the site's past as the location of the Hippodrome Theater, a nationally renowned 4,000 seat performance venue, which hosted legendary acts such as Sarah Bernhardt, Al Jolson, W.C. Fields and Will Rogers. The Hipp, as it was commonly known, was demolished in 1981.

The temporary urban experiment brought the illustrious past of the theater back to life, for one night, with live opera performances by students from the Cleveland Institute of Art, the prisma-chromatic electronic sounds of Freeze-Tag and the indie/pop/rock stylings of local Cleveland band Tastycakes. An enormous colorful inflatable was installed on the deck named, Make it Look Rich, by the Cleveland Institute of Art's Jimmy Kuehnle. Jimmy's feet can be seen scurrying beneath a mobile inflatable suit he wore while he interacted with the crowd. The event environment was rounded out with local food vendors, astroturf lawns, valet bike parking, a rooftop fountain pond courtesy of Filtrexx, and, of course, beer stands, which reinforced the 21st century theater experience.

The Hipp Deck embodied a new story for Cleveland's parking infrastructure; a hybrid landscape, which recognizes the reality of parking demands, but also engages the desires of residents. Cars hate the uncovered top level, but people love the view! We hope this exciting people-centered vision for the future of our ever-present parking infrastructure will help inspire the collective acts of our fellow artists, activists and designers.

For more information on the Hipp Deck or Cleveland Stories project, please contact the CUDC at 216.357.3434 or

The event is supported by the George Gund Foundation and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, in partnership with Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, SPIRE Institute, Filtrexx, Opera Cleveland, Ohio City Bike Co-op, Cleveland Bikes and Ampco System Parking.
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