Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Posts tagged “Pritzker Prize

Contemporary Arts Center (2003)

Zaha Hadid Architect

44 East 6th Street, Cincinnati, OH

Aerial View and Directions

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Last visited March 19 2012

I have visited the CAC many times while in Cincinnati visiting friends. I cannot believe it has been open almost 10 years. It seems at though I never get great photos for some reason. There are the odd large spherical streetlights seemingly in the way of all exterior shots, not to mention the traffic and trucks stopped on the street. I have posted these from my recent trip hoping they give some impression of the building and space inside.

Zaha’s first building built in the US I think has held up pretty well. It almost seems a little timid now, but that could be that I am so used to it. (I recently visited the now under construction Broad Museum of Art on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing by Zaha. That building looks like it will be a bold jarring presence on campus, the same feeling I remember of the CAC when I first saw it. I will post some progress photos soon) The CAC really fits into the Cincinnati streetscape well.

Inside the museum offers a variety of gallery experiences. Even if you have just a few minutes, you can experience the first floor for free and get a feel for Zaha’s complex angular composition with the floor turning up the wall on the north side.

I stop in every time I am in Cincy, and it still is an exciting experience. I cannot wait to see the completed museum in East Lansing, and experience Zaha’s more mature/developed style in comparison.


Vontz Center for Molecular Studies (1999)

Frank Gehry, Architect

University of Cncinnati

3125 Eden Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45267

Aerial View and Map

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Visited August 27, 2011

Gehry’s first “all brick” building stands as a sculpture on the University of Cincinnati’s campus. It is an interesting assembly of  forms with windows applied in various shapes floating or rotated out from the brick skin. From a fountain and lawn on the west side of the building, there is a grand brick stair as wide as the facade leading up to the building. At the top of the stairway, where you would expect a grand entrance,  is a brick wall with a wide window above the top landing with no door. You have to contunue around the building wing to get to a doorway. The grand stairway forms more of a pedestal for a sculpture, not a grand entry for a building. It is an interseting work of art.

Vontz Center Webpage

Peter B. Lewis Building (2002)

Frank Gehry, Architect

11119 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106

On the Case Western Reserve University Campus

Map and Aerial View

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Visited June 1, 2011

Home of the Weatherhead School of Management

Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion (2006)

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) , Architects

2445 Monroe Street, Toledo OH 43620

Map and Aerial View

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Visited May 31, 2011

Designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architctural duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (who’s firm is known as SANAA), this glass pavilion fittingly houses the Museum’s world renowned glass collection.

What initially appears as a “simple” glass box, square in plan with curved corners, is actually a very skillful study in minimalist aesthetics with a complex mechanical and structural design. The facade is a continuous  glass enclosure from the edge of the floor platform to the edge of the ceiling plane. The glazing is inset into the floor and ceiling plane with butt jointed side connections, providing a frameless and  nearly invisible joint instalation.

Contained within this glass box is a series of glass rooms, also with curved corners, arranged within the enclosure so that the room’s perimeter comes only as close as a couple feet of the exterior glazing.

Structurally there are very few slender columns and solid wall segments which emphasises the transparent glass box effect. The roof plane appears as a fairly slender white plane with only recessed lighting and recessed curtain tracks interrupting the ceiling. The mechanical system is mysteriously invisible. There are no rooftop units visible, and therefore no rooftop screens needed to “hide” them. On the interior the supply and return grilles are continuous slot diffusers in the floor, or a couple simple white rectangular boxes with circular diffusers. All of the HVAC system is delivered from a remote building and runs invisibly underground to the pavillion. Therefore the pristine glass pavilion does not have any of the ugly rooftop units or grilles/vents or operable windows in the facade.

Although I appreciate (and was amazed at) all of the obvious lengths they went through to accomplish this minimalist facade, standing back and looking at the Pavilion I thought it almost looks a little too “Simple”.