The Cleveland Foundation

6601 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103
The Cleveland Foundation

About the project

Owner/Architect/GC: Cleveland Foundation/ Vocon / Panzica Construction

Square Footage: 80,608sf
Schedule Variance: Jan 2022 to March 2023
This rendering of the new Cleveland Foundation headquarters is from S9 Architecture and Vocon. It is courtesy of the foundation.

The Cleveland Foundation has been leading change in the community since its trailblazing opening in 1914. At its founding, the Cleveland Foundation was the world’s first community foundation, starting a movement that would forever make our world a better place. To date, the organization has raised over $976 million in gifts, and has taken part in $1.78 billion of grantmaking. The Cleveland Foundation leads with a mission “to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come, by working together with donors to build community endowment, address needs through grantmaking, and provide leadership on key community issues.”

Since its inception over one hundred years ago, the Cleveland Foundation has leased office space, but after forty years of residency in the Playhouse Square district, the Cleveland Foundation has made the decision to move into the community with the building of its first stand-alone headquarters. The new headquarters being developed at E 66th street was designed with the community in mind and a “placekeeping” approach. Placekeeping is different than the term “playmaking” you may be familiar with. At the core of a placekeeping approach to design is a long-term collaboration with current residents and community stakeholders to ensure that historic spaces are respected, preserved, and strengthened while also bringing about new development that is aligned with the community’s needs and dreams for its residents.

Considerable thought went into the selection of the location for the new headquarters. When the Cleveland Foundation chose its downtown headquarters over forty years ago, the foundation knew that it wanted to play a key role in the redevelopment of a thriving downtown and Playhouse Square district. The same thought went into the board’s decision to name E 66th Street the new headquarters. The intent is to connect the city north to south from Superior Avenue to Euclid Avenue and to be a catalyst for the amazing work already being done or planning to be done in the city center that has been historically iconic.

This space was thoughtfully designed with the help of residents of all ages. The Cleveland Foundation collaborated with residents and stakeholders in the community to learn directly from them what a welcoming community space would entail. Things like accessibility to public transit, ADA compliance, preservation of the neighborhood, and gathering space. And it mattered to the Cleveland Foundation and the community, who would be building this space.
The Cleveland Foundation was diligent in selecting a local, diverse project team to bring a multidisciplinary, equitable, and collaborative team together. Next Generation’s reputation in the community as a skilled, innovative partner made the firm ideal to partner with for the interior trades package of the project. Specifically, the Next Generation team brought unique expertise to the project to erect a prefabricated timber frame structure, work within LEED-certified standards, and collaborate well with other trades to achieve a unique architectural design.


The building framing is a prefabricated, recycled timber structure that was chosen for its sustainability ratings. Upfront, coordination for prefabricated timber structures takes detailed coordination and planning from all partners on the project, led by the installing carpentry firm. Because Next Generation had experience working with prefabricated structures, the team was able to bring experience to the project that helped ensure a seamless installation and reduction of waste.

With proper coordination and planning, the Next Generation team was able to erect the prefabricated, recycled wood framing of the building in less than three months with a crew of only nine carpenters despite the work being completed in the frigid winter months. Because so much coordination is done upfront, minimal cuts are done on-site. All materials arrive on-site precut and ready to be set and secured in place. The efficiencies of prefabrication save time, and labor, and minimize waste.


The headquarters was designed to be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building for green building design. Striving to achieve LEED Gold certification, and eventually achieve LEED Platinum standing – the highest sustainable design certification in the LEED rating system - meant that sustainability had to be at the core of all design and construction decisions.
The entire building structure is made of recycled, laminated wood. Prefabrication of the structure saved on waste, and when waste was created, the project team took the appropriate steps to recycle the excess materials. Other cool LEED conscience features of the project performed by partners on the project include the installation of solar panels that will slash the building’s energy use by 60%, “providing enough renewable power to offset 542,080 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Over a thirty-year period, this solar canopy is estimated to have the same carbon reduction benefit as 75,055 trees.”


The exterior of the building as well as beams and columns throughout the headquarters were constructed of prefabricated wood. To achieve the creative look envisioned by architects Vocon and S9 Architecture, trade partners on the project had to collaborate clearly to allow follow up trades to seamlessly begin work.
Specifically, Next Generation worked closely with metal stud framers and the deck installers on the project to ensure framing was expertly installed. The building’s windows are a key architectural and LEED feature of the building, and it was critical for framing to be done, with no margin for error, so that windows could be seamlessly installed without schedule delay. For deck installation, Next Generation’s team of contractors worked strategically to erect sections of the structure to allow for deck work to commence without causing schedule disruptions for other trades.


The new Cleveland Foundation headquarters is a space that was designed to support and foster staff, donors, grantees, and community members. The Cleveland Foundation’s new headquarters is the physical manifestation of the organization's mission statement. From location to the featuring of local artists, creatives, chefs, and entrepreneurs on the first floor, the new headquarters is a space that can be enjoyed by the entire community. The Next Generation team is so grateful to the community, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and the entire project team for the ability to use our skills for positive change in the community.

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