Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

The Terrace Plaza Hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of
significance.

 

Built 1943 to 1948, it is a landmark of the early Modern movement in Cincinnati. When the
Terrace Plaza opened it was widely acclaimed as a Modernist masterpiece. The first International Style
hotel and one of the first post war hotels built in America, the building is a superb and innovative
synthesis of modern art and architecture. It was the first major building by Skidmore, Owings and
Merrill (SOM) architects and the first of their works to be published widely in architectural and popular
magazines. The Terrace also is significant in urban planning and development as an innovative and
forward-looking mixed-use complex combining hotel, offices and retail space under one roof, much in
the same manner as the Carew Tower, an NHL that was a companion hotel to the Terrace. Its mixed-use
program included retail at street level, two department stores on floors 2 to 7, a hotel lobby on the 8th
floor, and a slender hotel tower from the 9th to 19th floors. A cantilevered circular restaurant perches
daringly over the north wall. All hotel furnishings were custom-designed, and the hotel was filled with
modern art commissioned for the building, including works of major modern artists–Miro, Calder and
Saul Steinberg—in the public spaces. The masonry skin is an early use of stacked bond, indicating that
the brick was not structural. The building’s futuristic design included the first fully automated elevators
and user-controlled air conditioning in every room. The Terrace was designed by Natalie DeBlois,
pioneering woman architect. De Blois was the primary designer and did space planning, structure and
interiors and finished sections and elevations.

 

Photos used with permission, credit for all photos: Ezra Stoller/Esto

 

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Mural: Joan Miro

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Mural: Saul Steinberg

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Mural: Joan Miro

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Terrace Plaza Hotel, Location: Cincinnati OH, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Mural: Saul Steinberg

 

Photos used with permission, credit for all photos: Ezra Stoller/Esto