Kazuyo Sejima is a renowned Japanese architect. She studied at the Japan Women’s University, and worked in the office of Toyo Ito. She founded a Tokyo-based firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) with former employee Ryue Nishizawa. Together with Nishizawa, help design and create the Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.
In 2000, the firm was picked to design a new building for the museum that will house many of their glass collection. The construction of the museum took two years, and cost $30 million. It was opened to the public August 2006. The pavilion can feature more than 5,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary times.
How and what the pavilion was designed for is impressive. The 74,000 square foot building has rooms for galleries, artist studios, demonstration areas, and space that can be utilized for education, visitor relaxation, and special events. The exterior and majority of the interior walls are made of glass. The roof and interior structural supports are made of steel. There are 360 glass panels, which are mainly consisted of curved panels, that measure to approximately 8 feet wide by 13 ½ feet high, each weighing about 1,300 to 1,500 pounds.
Not only does the pavilion house many art works, it itself, is a work of art. The glass panels help create a blur to the boundaries of the interior and exterior. This allows the visitors to connect the indoors with the outdoors. The artists that work in the many studios that are provided will be able to connect to the outdoors as well. The glass walls divide the different space in the building. The transparency lets the visitors connects to the object and the activities that is going on across the pavilion. Something quite unique in the design by Sejima and Nishizawa is how the glass panels allow for a close physical- and transparent- relationship between the art inside the gallery and to the artists that are working in the studios.
The Glass Pavilion has won many awards, a few being an award for “Best Museum” in 2007 from Travel + Leisure; and from the Ohio Museums Association, the Institutional Excellence Award.