Built in 1945-46, the Terrace Plaza was the first International-style hotel built in the United States; and the first commission of Skidmore Owings and Merrill to be widely published and propelled the firm into the national spotlight. It was a pivotal project for SOM because it used an interdisciplinary design team, many of which who went on to their own remarkable careers. Most notably, its chief designer, Natalie de Blois, was a rare pioneering woman architect and member of a team of other designers who conceived of every detail of the building—interiors, furniture, textiles, uniforms, tableware, graphics—and even ashtrays.
Although it opened to much fanfare and was initially successful, the building has suffered a long decline and has been vacant since 2008.
After considerable advocacy efforts, the push to landmark the Terrace Plaza Hotel is gaining steam. Earlier this year, City Council member David Mann filed an application with the city's Historic Conservation Board seeking to make the downtown Cincinnati hotel a local historic landmark. At a hearing on February 25, a huge hurdle was overcome when the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board voted 5-1 to recommend Terrace Plaza for landmarking. Next, it goes to the City Planning Commission and then a vote by City Council for approval. Docomomo US will continue to provide updates as the story develops.
"Board Recommends Landmark Designation For Terrace Plaza Hotel," wvxu.org, February 26, 2019.
"The Terrace Plaza could get local landmark status," City Beat, January 15, 2019.