Bob Madison recalls just a few of the hundreds of projects he has designed and contributed to.
Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio, 1958 | Designed by Robert P. Madison
As an architect, your buildings are like your children. You dream of them, they’re conceived, nurtured, and all along you agonize—did you take the right approach? Will they have a full and productive life? If an architect and a father is fortunate, he’s equally proud both when his creation is new and when it’s mature, standing proud, still productive, still beautiful. As the architect of Mount Hermon, and the father of two women, I’m quite fortunate.
Medical Associates Building, Cleveland, Ohio, 1960 | Designed by Robert P. Madison
The Medical Associates Building was the first multi-story medical facility for doctors of color built in the state of Ohio. Society has changed and the need for segregated facilities no longer exists. I am pleased that the current owners in 2017 created a new purpose for the continued usefulness of this structure. Its official title is the PNC Glenville Arts Campus, but most neighbors simply call it the Madison Building.
Cleveland State University Science Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, 1978 | Designed by Robert P. Madison
This was the first project of this scale for both me and a few of the key contractors we counted on to deliver on our design. Cleveland State was just beginning to emerge in earnest as a major state university, and I’d like to believe this building made a powerful visual statement to support that.
U.S. Embassy, Dakar, Senegal, Africa, 1974 | Designed by Robert P. Madison
In the early 2000s this and other embassies needed to be replaced due to unfolding security concerns. That was sad, sort of like an artist’s work being painted over. Still, needs change, and buildings are repurposed. I haven’t made it back to Dakar to see how it’s being used—I hope I can get there.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland, Ohio, 1995 | I.M. Pei, principal architect; Robert P. Madison, associate architect
I’m not sure any of us who worked on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame could have imagined how that building would become an icon for Cleveland. Big ballgame or a big news item or feature that involves Cleveland? You can bet an image or video of the Rock Hall will be shown. Maybe one day when a statue of Superman, who was created in Cleveland, finds a home, that image will be used. But for now, the Rock Hall is Cleveland’s signature landmark.