It’s often been noted that the creative class is what keeps the cultures of cities alive and vibrant. How exactly, does that play out, asks Pete Spittler? He has seen the creative class’ input in a direct way; Pete Spittler has helped realize some of those dreams as a creative force of his own. It was through the efforts of Pete Spittler and his firm that an important landmark in downtown Cleveland got a new lease on life.
Cleveland’s Allen Theater was built as a movie palace in the 1920s, but by the 1970s it had seen better days. The declining theater building was destined for demolition. According to Pete Spittler, the city at that time was operating under a urban removal program, but a local activist named Ray Sherardson saw the future potential of the old theaters In 1998 Pete Spittler and his firm faced challenges in the redevelopment and restoration of the Allen Theater, however; things like a new dressing room, loading docks and stagehouse all had to be built, and the dense downtown of Cleveland presented its own logistical problems.
There was much detailed cleaning and restoration work to be done, Pete Spittler notes, including illusionistic windows, figurated panels, and replacement of the building’s ornate original plaster work. The final result from Pete Spittler and his firm, however, is an urban showplace that seats up to 2500 people. Pete Spittler notes that in the most recent renovation and expansion of the Allen Theater, the complex is now the home to the theater program at Cleveland State University, and the centerpiece of the city’s Playhouse Square district.
Pete Spittler has a lengthy resume in architecture, urban planning and design. Pete Spittler served at Figgie International and The Austin Company as senior project manager. At The Austin Company, Pete Spittler spent time in Eastern Europe, studying industries that might be good candidates for privatization after the fall of communism. Pete Spittler has also traveled to Brazil in a consultancy role; today, Pete Spittler is president of GSI Architects.