Monday, March 29, 2010

Pritzker architectural award recognizes addition to Toledo museum

You don’t need to travel far from Cleveland to experience architecturally significant spaces.  Just yesterday, the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded to SANAA Ltd., the Japanese team of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, for their work on theToledo Museum of Art's transparent Glass Pavilion. This is the first male-female team to ever win the prestigious award.

The addition they created for the Toledo Museum is actually the latest expansion. The original museum was founded in 1901 by Edward Libbey of Libbey Glass and was designed by Toledo architects Edward Green and Harry Wachter. In 1990, the legendary Frank Gehry added The Center for the Visual Arts addition.

When asked about how they related this addition to the existing structures, the SANNA team explained “Responding to the site and its surroundings is one of our main tasks as architects. The impressive main building and Gehry’s very skillful addition set the tone, and we wanted to fit into that lovely atmosphere with a quiet pavilion in a grove of old trees.”

Regarding the elimination of all 90 degree corners they said “Very unusual shapes of spaces and sequences of spaces are created this way. The convention of the wall, having two surfaces that are always depending on each other, is also altered in this design, where forms of adjacent rooms can be independent of each other.”

Visiting the Toledo Museum of Art's Glass Pavilion is a dual treat. You can come for the architecture and stay for the art, or vice-versa. In either case, it makes for a photographic feast.  Art pieces owned by the museum may be photographed but those loaned by contemporary artists may not. You can check with the guards in each of the galleries for specifics.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday each week and is closed New Years, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Hours are available on the museum’s Web site.  Admission is free but parking is $5.00 unless you are a museum member.

From Cleveland, it’s an under two hour drive from downtown. Take I-90 west and then I-75 north into Toldeo. 
Photo above by Michael Pecirno

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