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Corning Museum of Glass
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Corning, New York
Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects

Photo © Scott Frances/Esto

Corning gives the gift of transparency

—Rob Cassetti, Marketing Director

—Gary Haney, AIA

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects

Corning, Inc.

Key Players
Click above to find a complete listing of the people and products involved in the completion of this project and an additional photograph.

Much like the first glass center at the 1939 World's Fair, the original Corning glass museum, built by the architect Wallace Harrison in 1951, showcased the science and art of glass and served as a beacon for culture in the town of Corning, New York, and the region altogether.

It was fitting that part of the scope of this five-year, multidimensional renovation and addition executed by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson was a performing arts space for the entire community. In addition, the firm renovated the Corning Glass Center, including the Stueben glass-blowing factory; refurbished the original glass museum; and added a new entrance pavilion called the Orientation Center, with its 80-person theater displaying the art and history of glass. This subtle recombination of disparate elements ties together the historical iconography of the original buildings with new insertions to create a full-service cultural and educational facility. Visitorship, which had been turning downward for a number of years, has been going back up at the significant rate of 8 percent annually.

Showcasing glass was tricky because the material is so much a part of the infrastructure. The architect orchestrated a dynamic sequence of glass exhibits for the visitor to pass through and engage in that is full of surprises. In the words of juror Chee Pearlman, "that's the thing that's so magical about this place—there's no small metaphor for the use of the shimmering, glowing, alive material of glass to make this a welcoming place."

For more on this project please see the October 2001 issue of Architectural Record.

The Winners: Chesapeake Bay | Corning Museum | Dulwich Galllery | Kuhonji Temple Gate | LVMH Tower | Pedestrian Bridge | Phillips Plastics | Saitama Arena | SAP Headquarters | Chiller Plant | Wieden + Kennedy Headquarters

The Finalists: Allegheny Jail | Hansen Construction | Helmut Lang Perfumerie | Herman Miller Showroom | Lincoln St. Garage | TBWA/Chiat/Day | U.S. Courthouse | Westpac Stadium