The Crystal at Royal Ontario Museum

Today’s photo comes to you from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.

The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal was constructed in 2007, as a multi-million dollar expansion to the Royal Ontario Museum located in downtown Toronto. The structure employs a Deconstructivist crystalline form, made of 25% glass and 75% aluminum sitting atop a steel frame. Designed by American-Polish architect Daniel Libsekind, it resembles some of his other notable works such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre.

Opening of The Crystal was met with considerable controversy. Public opinion was divided concerning the merits of its angular design, and it received scathing reviews from several architecture critics who went so far as to describe it as “oppressive, angsty, and hellish.” In fact, it has even been ranked one of the ten ugliest buildings in the world. I don’t think it’s that bad!

9 responses to “The Crystal at Royal Ontario Museum”

  1. Next time I return to Toronto I will go there

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a fun museum to visit. Their current feature is a mummy exhibit. Maybe you’ll be able to make it Toronto in time to see that!


  2. It’s an interesting reflection on this slightly different architecture in Toronto. If it is so ugly, it will be dismantled in the future, or covered by another addition, or simply the next generation will prefer the good old architecture hidden behind it. Experience has shown that the buildings that have generated the most controversy are generally those that become the most popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that in the past 13 years, this building has become something of an iconic symbol in Toronto and it’s hard to imagine that intersection without it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually laughed out loud at the thought of people getting angry over a piece of architecture. I swear, some people just always have to have something to complain about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They sure do. I don’t even find the building particularly offensive, to be honest.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that what people find so offensive is the juxtaposition of a hypermodern glass/metal creation and old brick buildings. Sometimes these not-so-eye-pleasing or indeed heart-warming structures are redeemed by their interior. Which could well be the case here with all the angles and windows letting the light in. One case in point is Ara Pacis Museum in Rome. A very contemporary, geometrical, white building that doesn’t exactly fit in with its surroundings. There are two baroque churches across the road. However, the interior is spacious, light-filled and the ancient Ara Pacis monument really comes to life. I find The Crystal really interesting, if not beautiful. A very cool post that made me check out his other buildings mentioned in the article. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with your analysis! I think the contrast between old and new architectural style can be jarring, but I am seeing it more and more in this city in an attempt to preserve some heritage structures.

      Liked by 1 person

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