LENS Campus

A Living Landscape

Nord Family Greenway to Create Campus Connector

An architectural rendering of the future greenway featuring students on sidewalks, sitting in the grass, and playing sports. The performing arts center is in the distanceIMAGE: SASAKI ASSOCIATES, INC.

The planned 430,000-square-foot walkway will connect the university's main campus and its performing arts center, and include an event law, amphitheater and a cantilevered bridge.

When Case Western Reserve first announced plans to transform a local historic temple into a state-of-the-art performing arts center six years ago, the concept drew great acclaim—and a consistent question:

How are the students going to get there?

The project that became the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple-Tifereth Israel sat on a parcel just more than a half-mile west of the main campus. While the distance between them wasn't huge, the combination of intersecting roadways, steep slopes and abundant foliage made the center feel much farther away.

When the Cleveland Foundation sponsored a design competition to address the issue, most expected the solution to take the form of some kind of pedestrian bridge. But one of the participants, Sasaki Associates, Inc.—a landscape architecture firm based in Watertown, Massachusetts—had an entirely different idea: Instead of going over obstacles, how about smoothing them to create a new public space?

Sasaki's inspiration will begin taking physical form this academic year when construction starts on the Nord Family Greenway, a 430,000-square-foot expanse of grass, trees, a natural amphitheater and more. The project went public in the spring, thanks to support from:

  • An anonymous alumna trustee, who launched the fundraising for the project with a $3 million gift;
  • The Cleveland Foundation, which awarded an additional $1 million grant to support the project and a neighborhood engagement strategy;
  • The Eric and Jane Nord Family, longtime supporters of the university, who provided the lead naming gift for the project.

(Additional donors may be announced as the project comes closer to its opening.)

The greenway will extend from the west side of the Tinkham Veale University Center, across the south lawn of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Rockefeller Park, and over to the performing arts center.

The art museum, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, has collaborated with the university on the design of the project.

To learn more about the impact of reviving public spaces in and around Cleveland, read an essay by alumnus Greg Peckham (MNO '99), managing director of LAND studio, which is part of the greenway development team.