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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Glass Pavillion of Toledo Museum of Art

The postmodern Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art was designed by the Tokyo firm of SANAA ltd and has a very low profile across the street from the Museum of Art building. But its simple exterior belies a dramatic interior filled with curving glass walls creating a very transparent sensation that "blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces" to quote the museum's website. It houses over 5,000 works of art in glass from ancient to contemporary and in the center, you can watch artisans blowing glass or take part in a workshop. It's a stunning space and we learned all about Toledo's history as the glass capital of the world. Glass giants such as Libby and Owens Corning have their origins in Toledo and many fortunes were made here. Toledo also provided glass for the auto industry and has suffered a decline in recent years with manufacturing moving overseas and to Mexico. We were fascinated by the city's Historic Old West End, a 25-block neighborhood of late Victorian, Edwardian and Arts & Crafts Homes, that date back at least to the 1800s, many in dire need of restoration. We were lucky enough to meet the owner of one of these jewels who was kind enough to take us on a tour of the home she and her husband have painstakingly restored. Cathy told us that some of these huge mansion homes are on the market for around $200,000 or less - a bargain for what they offer. Of course the cost of restoration would probably be astronomical but for someone with time on their hands, it could be a labor of love that will pay off in the future.

Our time in Toledo was too brief and we really only spent the better part of the morning exploring the city after our museum visit. Jessica and Nick and Thanksgiving were waiting for us so we said our goodbyes to this really interesting American city.

The Glass Pavilion

Art Deco glass display

More glass from the museum's collection

Work of art entitled "Vitrana" created in 1969 by Dominick Labino, an American artist. It consists of 33 cast panels and weighs around 1,000 lbs. Visit the website at http://www.toledomuseum.org/Collection/Vitrana.htm

A glass blowing demonstation

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