Home > Design, Design + International, Exhibition > Geodesic crystal formations, sheets of metal and glass collide with the world as we know it!

Geodesic crystal formations, sheets of metal and glass collide with the world as we know it!

AGO north facade – east and west views

Toronto is determined to prove culture can drive the economic and social growth of communities through a concentration of construction and makeover projects across a number of sites in the city including Canada’s National Ballet School, the Canadian Opera Company, Ontario College of Art & Design, Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum to name five of eleven major projects.

The most notable and spectacular of these projects are perhaps the AGO, Gehry Partners LLP, and the the ROM, by the Studio of Daniel Libeskind in a joint venture with Bregman + Hamann Architects. Both projects seem to be striving to out do one another in a battle of metal and glass to soon become branded architectural icons of the city’s future.

An angular aluminum-clad façade will soon grace the front of the Royal Ontario Museum. Photo: Miller Hare, copyright ROM 2005.In Libeskind’s words;

The sculptural composition of architectural forms radiates from the centrality of the entrance crystal gathering at its centre, the urban vitality of Bloor Street. A new group entrance on Queen’s Park is provided, whilst Philosopher’s Walk is marked and enlivened by a new entrance to the panoramic restaurant up above. The visitors enter into a spectacular atrium in which the two themes of the Museum, Nature and Culture, are distinctly thematized through the interlocking spatial volumes with tantalizing glimpses of the exhibitions above. The entire ground level is unified into a seamless space from North to South and from East to West. The resulting clarity of circulation and access creates a transparency in which the inherited architecture and new construction form an equilibrium of imaginative unity.

The well-tested presentation of Nature and Culture are not only updated through interactive technology but are visualized within the true magic and power of physically built space. One could imagine this building as a place where the public is engaged in an ongoing drama rather than a static 19th century museum which suggests that nature has been conquered and culture has been archived.

This building tells a unique and a particular story which crystallizes ROM’s programmatic content and the singularity of the site. The Crystal transforms the secretive and fortress-like character of ROM, turning it into an inspired atmosphere dedicated to the resurgence of the Museum as the dynamic centre of Toronto.

Not a single 90 degree angle can be found in the ROM’s adjunct construction and in a dynamism of angular planes, collides with the static historical structure of the original building. Like a glacier on the move it appears to plow into the side of the building as it slowly threatens to dislocate it from it’s foundations. The effect is dramatic and will be compared to other great architectural feats like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao. In fact

Custom aluminum facade manufacturer Josef Gartner, of Germany—the same company that worked on Gehry’s Guggenheim museum in Bilbao—is manufacturing the aluminum and will ship it for installation next spring.

I will look forward to returning to Toronto in the future to see the completed structures. These are some images I took while there in spring – yes the aluminium structure was in the process of being installed.

I hope you enjoy the images.


Information about Aluminium construction via Aluminium Now

Transformations of the AGO project can be viewed via webcam.

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  1. June 11, 2007 at 10:06 pm

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