|Like Toledo Ohio, which also has a glass museum, Tacoma was an important center for glass, in its case the studio glass movement with Dale Chihuly as one of its main practitioners. The Chihuly Bridge of Glassis a pedestrian entrance to this museum, just as the nearby Union Station is the setting for an installation of several of Chihuly's works. The museum provides both exhibit space for international contemporary works in glass and a large studio for demonstrating the process of blowing glass. The iconic cone marks the Hot Shop Amphitheater. The museum played a crucial role in the redevelopment of the Thea Foss Waterway, which had been an industrial wasteland. Canadian architect Arthur Erickson designed a modern building--in modern materials--concrete, steel, and glass to signify the emphasis on contemporary glass, and at the same time reminds viewers of the Pacific Northwest heritage with a cone shape like that of the sawdust burners that had been a common part of the natural landscape.|
View from Chihuly's Bridge of Glass; right: wide spiral stairway down to the entrance (at left) and elevator down to the right
The 90 foot tall coneThis tilted cone (17 degree tilt to the north) has a diameter of about 104 feet at the base and 15 feet at the top. It is supported by tubular steel columns. See interior views.
Cladding of stainless steel panelsThese shingles have a matte finish--scratched with a wire brush during manufacturing. The cone has a steel mesh top.
Broad stairway spirals around the cone to the entrance(See above as well.)
Main entrance on a rainy day
Large plaza in front of the entranceThree reflecting pools grace the plaza. See page 2 for a view of one of the outdoor sculptures.