Walls made of soft, light gray concrete unlike any concrete ever produced in the United States appear throughout the Piano Pavilion’s exterior and interior. Tie holes appear in the concrete walls at only 30-foot intervals, which is unusual for architectural concrete. The resulting uninterrupted wall surfaces are ideal for the display of works of art.
Twenty-nine pairs of wood roof beams, weighing a total of 435 tons, span the interior and extend to the exterior beneath the overhanging canopy. In addition to providing support for the roof system, the 100-foot-long beams of laminated Douglas fir add visual weight and warmth within largely continuous, changeable, and airy interiors.
Glass lends transparency and lightness to the pavilion. In addition to the glass roof, natural light fills the north and south galleries through glazed walls, offering passersby a glimpse into the art-filled areas. From the pavilion’s entrance, five layers of glass provide a view through the lobby and garden separating the two sections of the pavilion, into the pavilion’s rear section with the auditorium, and out onto the light well that spans the length of the west section of the building.