Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Center for the Visual Arts (1992)

Frank Gehry, Architect

Connected to the East End of the Toledo Museum of Art,

2445 Monroe Street, Toledo, OH 43620

Map and Aerial View

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Visited May 31, 2011

The University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts is an early Frank Gehry design. The composition is an arrangement of geometric solid forms, clusted and stacked. Here Gehry is using lead covered copper panels to enclose volumes which define the space. Compare this to Gehry’s later designs where the metal panels are polished stainless steel and the surfaces are more flamboyantly curved and sculpted, flaring in and out in a free form composition.

The Center for the Visual Arts building is attached to the Toledo Museum of Art with a one story link. On the Monroe Street side the Center and Museum are seperated/screened by dense plantings and an earth berm, allowing the Center visually stands alone from the Museum as you drive west on Monroe Street.

On the South side of the Center, adjacent to the entry is a Japanese inspired rock garden. It includes with several large rocks carefully placed in a raked white gravel field. This garden is enclosed by an odd green tinted glass tall fence. I am curious to find out the story behind this garden and it’s fence. It just seems, well…odd.

I personally like the weathered lead panels and the volumetric composition of the North facade of the Center better than the glare, distortion and spectacle of some of Gehry’s later works.

Also visit the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion (2006) across the street by another Pritzker Prize winning architectural firm SANAA from Japan.

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