From its humble first exhibition space in two rented rooms, the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, has grown to cover approximately 32 acres with six buildings. Its latest addition, the Glass Pavilion, began in May 2004.

Built of glass itself, the new pavilion will house one of the world's finest international collections of glass works and contain a glassmaking facility consisting of two hot shops, studios, and various support spaces. More than 470 glass wall and door panels, some curved, will divide and connect spaces in a new and unique way.

According to the assistant director of the Toledo Museum of Art and project coordinator for the Glass Pavilion Terry Beamsley, concrete was chosen as the only material that could meet all the needs of the extremely demanding floorspace, both physically and aesthetically. Due to the many curves and piecing required, stone would be cost-prohibitive. Concrete was chosen over wood or carpeting for the floors because of its durability. It can withstand heavy traffic without significant wear and can handle the high temperatures in the glass-blowing facilities. “Not many surfaces can tolerate 2000° glass droppings,” says Beamsley. Because of glass walls within glass walls, visual continuity was another important consideration. The concrete will be lightly ground, polished, and sealed.

About a month after the elevator foundation was placed, basement slab preparation began, including underslab plumbing and electrical and drainage work. The basement pits, storm sewer, elevator shafts, and exterior basement stairway were formed and placed as well.

In July, loading dock, southeast and southwest quarters, kitchen, north and northwest quarters, and southeast basement exterior wall and columns were placed. Next came the forming and pouring of the ground floor concrete deck with numerous concrete beams up to 24 inches thick and running in all directions to accommodate the loading of the sparsely spaced steel columns supporting the roof steel.

The concrete deck required the precise coordinated location of over 700 penetrations through the concrete deck for conduits, air ducts, roof drains, plumbing, excluding many embedded column and sheer wall anchor bolts. In all, 5898 cubic yards, or around 12,000 tons, of concrete and 630 tons of reinforcing steel were used. The Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion is expected to open in 2006.


  • Architects: Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA, Ltd.
  • General and Concrete Contractor: Rudolph/Libbe Inc.
  • Owner: Toledo Museum of Art