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2014 MCHAP

Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art

Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA

Toledo, USA



Kazuyo Sejima Ryue Nishizawa


Kendall/Heaton Associates (Local Architect) SAPS (Structural Consultant) Guy Nordenson and Associates (Structural Consultant) Cosentini Associates (Mechanical Engineer) Transsolar (Environment)


Toledo Museum of Art




The building is designed to allow visitors to see the glass-making process alongside the final products themselves: the free-form spaces flow through one another, encouraging various activities to interact. Each program is wrapped with a single curved line, creating a nest of bubbles and free-form cavity spaces between them that serve as visual and thermal buffer zones and create a variety of optical qualities.


The project is a small annex of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, and provides an exhibition space for glass craft, a café, a multipurpose room, open-stack storage and a glass workshop. There were many large beautiful trees on the site and the building lies low so that the branches can stretch wide. It is accessible from all sides, like a pavilion in a park and its colour and character shifts with the seasons. Nature appears to float and distort softly across the surface of the curved glass and visitors are immersed in the greenery.


The continuous exterior and interior glass walls slide gently past each other to create a shifting relationship between museum and garden, filtering the view through layers of curved glass, each with its own reflection. The buffer zones between activities perform a special function by regulating the temperature and humidity requirements of each space in a sustainable way: the heat generated from the glass-making furnaces is recycled into the radiant heating and cooling panels embedded in the floor and ceiling of the public spaces. It succeeds in creating an environment that seems to be neither workshop nor gallery but an insight into the character and qualities of glass.

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