Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art / SANAA

© Iwan Baan

Location: Toledo, , USA
Client: Toledo Museum of Art
Architect: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue NishizawaSANAA
Team: Toshi Oki, Takayuki Hasegawa, Keiko Uchiyama, Mizuki Imamura, Tetsuo Kondo, Junya Ishigami
Built area: 7,000sqm
Site area: 20,000sqm
Opening: 2006
Structure: Guy Nordenson & Associates / SAPS
consultant: Front Inc
Lighting: Arup / Kilt Planning
Photos: Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan

The annex to the Toledo Museum of Art is both an exhibition space for the museum’s glass collection, and a glass making facility. Conceived as a single one-story volume penetrated by courtyards with sightlines through layers of transparent walls, the visitorís experience will always involve the surrounding greenery.

© Iwan Baan

Individually, each space is enclosed in clear glass, resulting in cavity walls that act as buffer zones between different climates; museum exhibition spaces, the glass making hot-shop, and the outdoors.

© Iwan Baan

The plan is derived from a grid of various rectilinear shapes reflecting programmatic adjacencies, with room-to-room connections achieved using curving glass surfaces. Glass is wrapping the spaces forming continuous elevations, uninterrupted by corners. The visitor flows with the form through a series of interconnected bubbles.

Cite: Basulto, David. "Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art / SANAA" 28 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
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  • Nicholas Patten

    Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art.

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  • mara

    Good glass building
    I like minimal architecture

  • biboarchitect

    reminds me by a Kengo Kuma Water/Glass guest house built in the ninties! the other one is even more imaginative!

  • Mic

    Two Questions:

    I don’t get it. Can you actually walk into these buffer zones or are they restricted? If so, from what I see in the floor plan, the spaces are pretty awkward to walk through. Loads of narrow passages and deadends.

    Secondly, what about insulation and thermal issues? Surely a couple layers of glass cannot keep the warmth of the building?

    • jimmy

      the heat from the kilns, glass blowing exhibitions 3 -4 daily is taken and exhausted into the “buffer zones”. if you look at the plan imagine each space being in a womb(a protective membrane, surrounded by warm blood / heat). having been to the building, it is really is very nice. it challenges the senses as well as your camera… the echo of the halls and the refraction of light is something never experienced before… and its in ohio place of sun and snow. the glass is also actually curved not faceted… which is very cool. if your in ohio, stop by and check it out. architecture seems to be experienced by pictorial only now a days which is a shame.

  • Trevor

    Judging from the floor plan, I would guess that the buffer spaces are intended not to be walked in by the general public, and are just sized to allow cleaners and repair services through. They might also be classified as emergency exit paths, but I don’t know. As for thermal, it won’t necessarily be the most efficient building in the world, but it should be manageable. Think: farnsworth house. Same heating system, same glass walls (FH had even thinner glass). The trick is that the radiant heating they show in the section detail acts as a buffer, which reduces heating costs for the large interior space (and radiant floors are nice and cheap).

  • Carol

    Ohhh…so it is like what we used to call the poche space has been filled with warm air…very interesting and innovative…what used to be solid in Beaux-Arts architecture has now become transparent.

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  • 张建春

    clean and beautiful!

  • Jan Kunz

    Please add the days and hours the museum is open to your website. It’s amazing that this information is lacking!

  • artsuniversity

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  • Allan

    The drawings are too light.

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