Hidden in Plain View: The ICA

August 27th, 2012 Posted in Architecture, Art, West Side


Closeup of shiny glass


One of Cleveland’s treasures is hidden in plain view in more ways than one. Are you familiar with the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA)? The ICA was the first regional, non-profit art conservation/preservation center in the United States, founded in 1952 on the Oberlin College campus. It has been imitated around the country, but remains the only such facility in this region.

The Association moved to their present building at 2915 Detroit Avenue in 2003. Built in 1926 and designed by Alfred B. Sylvanus, the building was the Cleveland showroom and warehouse for Vitrolite, the structural glass company which made opaque glass infused with pigment.

The building required extensive renovations, both inside and out, before the ICA was able to move into the building. Design Culture Cleveland will write about the building’s interior in the near future, along with the latest status on the updates to the original Vitrolite showroom and the surprise discoveries made during the renovations of the interior.

The building’s front façade features white glazed terra cotta with Venetian and Moorish influences. During its exterior renovations, the original balustrade was reconstructed, the showroom window was recreated and new doors were made to meet the current fire codes. After a bit of sleuthing and piecing together of the original panel pieces of Vitrolite glass found during the renovations, the shiny black and textured lavender glass panels under the showroom window were reproduced by Marc Konys of Bruening Glass in Rocky River onto some of the original pieces of Vitrolite found in the building.

The textured lavender panels were created by first being etched, then covered in warm, wet hide glue. As the glue cooled, it attached to the rough glass. When it dried it also shrank, ripping thin shards off the surface, creating the texture called glue chipped glass.

You can see the results below:


The lovely front of the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA)


The panels under the showroom window


The textured (glue chipped) lavender glass


Bruening Glass recreated these panels using the original Vitrolite wording


Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA)
2915 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113


One Response to “Hidden in Plain View: The ICA”

  1. [...] glass). One first notices the exterior beauty of their white terracotta glazed building (covered here). But once you step inside their nondescript steel doors in the back of the building (and across [...]

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