The National Inventors Hall of Fame

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The National Inventors Hall of Fame

A catalyst of Akron’s rebirth, this interactive science museum and hall of fame, whose powerful and progressive image befits a national cultural institution, is itself an invention whose forms and materials singly and together resonate with the spirit of innovation.

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Distinct volumes are arranged on an elevated landscaped plaza. A stainless steel arc expresses the infinity of creative thinking as applied to advanced technology and defines a wall carrying five tiers of exhibits. A four-story bar building contains education and support spaces.

The five-story volume of the Great Wall is a described by a vertical plane that rises from below the plaza and a “wing” whose exposed aluminum trusses and taut metallic skin arc to the plaza. 

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Akron’s new museum seeks to gather the history, spirt and act of invention into a single facility, and it succeeds by harnessing design, entertainment, and education to the vehicle of exploration . . . . the transition between exhibits and architecture is all but seamless, assisted by the flexibility of the building’s Neo-Constructivist esthetic which allows [the architect] to express programmatic and structural layering through sculptural assembly.

Reed Kroloff, Architecture 121/1995, “Reinventing Akron”
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The tensile cable and steel Tower of Invention provides outdoor display areas on its frame and, by means of devices related to the work of inventors, communicates information both graphically and digitally to receptors mounted on its base.

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The museum contains distinct and complementary exhibit types, each of which has a unique formal and spatial expression corresponding to its intended didactic or interactive experience and to its dual functions: to celebrate the United States Patent System, the contributions of significant inventors and the creative mind in general and to spark an interest in science. Historical and biographical exhibits document objects and authors of inventions; and interactive exhibits teach scientific principles. 

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Our focus is here is on ingenuity – on getting people to think inventively, understand how things work, and then, we hope do something with that...the building is part of that process.

Stephen Brand, Executive Director Inventure Place
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Details

Year
1995
Location
Akron, OH
Size
77,000 GSF
Program
Exhibition Halls, Public Plaza, Galleries, Offices, Laboratories, Classrooms, Resource Center, Gift Shop, Café

Team

Design Partners
James S. Polshek, James Garrison
Management Partner
Joseph Fleischer
Project Designer
D. Blake Middleton
Project Managers
Joanne Sliker, Gaston Silva
Project Architect
Don Weinreich
Technical Designer
Jihyon Kim
Interiors
Duncan Hazard, Alice Raucher
Design Team
Denis Dambreville, Mark Fisher, Jong Hahn, Steven Peppas, Lori Sacco Spillman, David Sherman, Darius Sollohub, Craig Spiegel, Charles Wolf
Associate Architect
TC Architects, Inc.

Awards

  • 1999
    • AIA National Honor Award for Architecture
  • 1997
    • Merit Award, AIA/Ohio
  • 1996
    • Award for Excellence in Design, AIA/New York State
    • Award for Out of Area Project, The Concrete Industry Board, Inc. of New York

Press

  • 1995
    • Forgey, Benjamin. "Ohio's Hall of Fame Fetish" (The Washington Post, 8/26/1995)
    • Gamerman, Amy. "A Cooperstown for Gadgeteers and Tinkerers" (Akron Beacon Journal, 8/17/1995)
    • Kroloff, Reed. "Reinventing Akron" (Architecture, 12/1995)
    • "Inventors Hall of Fame Opens in Akron, Ohio" (The New York Times, 7/30/1995)
    • "Akron's Excellent Inventure" (Akron Beacon Journal, 7/25/1995)
  • 1994
    • Coolidge, Cal. "Avant-garde Encore" (The Architectural Review, 8/1994)
    • McManamy, Rob. "Crafting a catalyst for creativity" (Engineering News Record, 10/31/1994)
  • 1991
    • Slatin, Peter D . "Polshek Invents Hall of Fame" (Architectural Record, 9/1991)
  • 1990
    • Salisbury, Wilma. "The Spirit of Invention in Akron" (Inland Architect, 9/1990)
  • 1989
    • Starr, Mark. "Playgrounds for the Mind" (Newsweek, 6/12/1989)

Consultants

Structural
ARUP
MEP
Byers Engineering Company
Exhibit
Hands On! Inc.
Electrical
PTA Engineering
Lighting
Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc., Synergy Lighting
Graphics
Calori & Vanden-Eynden
Acoustics
Jaffe Holden
Security
Ducibella Venter & Santore
Specifications
Construction Specifications, Inc.
Cost Estimating
M. T. Peters & Associates Inc.
Architectural Concrete
Metcalf & Eddy, Inc.
Food Service
Romano Gatland
Elevator
Jenkins & Huntington, Inc.
Glass Maintenance
Entek Engineering, LLC
Construction Manager
Welty Building Company, Ltd.
Photography
Jeff Goldberg/Esto