Cincinnati Music Hall: Three Transom Windows
Cincinnati. When someone utters that word, what do think? Reds, Bengals, food, art, UC but what about architecture? The architecture in the smallest big city in the country is a hidden gem and that starts with the Music Hall. Firmly planted in Over-The-Rhine since its inception in 1878, this architectural masterpiece had been looking for a renovation for some time. It got just that when it reopened in 2017 with a $143 million dollar makeover. Marsh Building Products partnered with PWWG Architects, Messer Construction and Marvin to add 103 total windows, 90 of which were custom.
What the team soon found out was that Music Hall had quite a few hidden gems that had been bricked in, blocked off, or obscured from view. The crown jewel of those were three transom windows beneath the iconic grand rose window that overlooks Washington Park. However, recreating those windows would not be easy.
Little to no imagery of those windows existed but the team was able to find an old black and white photo that showed the windows before they had been covered. Ralph Ludwig, commercial project manager at Marsh Building Products, recalled, “It was a black and white photo with these gigantic Pontiac Bonnevilles and Cadilliacs that were more ships than they were cars. But it showed the three windows before they were bricked up.” Ludwig, in a strange twist of fate, had worked on a Music Hall restoration in 1989, supplying 75 Marvin replacement windows.
Marvin’s architectural team went to work, by digitally enhancing the small black and white photo, they were able to recreate the exact patterns on all three windows. Paul Muller, the executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, said, “The crown glory of it, in my mind, are really those three big windows in Corbett Tower, right underneath the large rose window.” He continued, “When they’re lit up at night, its glorious.”
The entire restoration and revitalization of Music Hall was a resounding success, but those three transom windows were, and still are, the crowning achievement!