• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

RENAISSANCE ROM - $200 million design awarded


TRIBE Member
.... to German-famed architect, Daniel Libeskind.

Personally, I think he won based on his name alone - his presentation wasn't nearly as thorough and detailed as the one made by Canadian, Bing Thom. I bet if Gehry would have designed a giant cardboard box for his proposal, he would have one.

>>> From Torstar.com <<<<<



CRYSTAL GAZING: Daniel Libeskind's model, called the Crystal, would transform the ROM — and reveal it — through a series of glazed extensions that shoot out from existing buildings at all angles.

Yesterday's announcement that Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind has been chosen to redesign the ROM means the country's largest museum will soon become its most dynamic.

Libeskind beat out more than 50 architects from around the world with a striking proposal that will transform the complex at Bloor St. and Avenue Rd./Queen's Park into a 21st-century architectural landmark.

Though his submission leaves the Queen's Park facade untouched, the rest of the facility will be completely and startlingly changed. Most startling of all will be the Bloor front, which will resemble an explosion of glass.

Huge crystalline shapes will protrude in every direction from the museum. Large enough for visitors to walk through, these angular forms are meant to be hard, if not impossible, to ignore.

Not everyone will appreciate Libeskind's in-your-face approach to architecture, but few will be indifferent to it. His first and best-known project, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, opened two years ago without exhibits. Even empty, it managed to attract crowds.

Libeskind's Toronto proposal, which he calls The Crystal, may be less confrontational than the Jewish Museum, but it could be just as controversial. Nothing like this has ever been seen in Toronto.

But if the level of public interest is any indication, Libeskind's scheme is already a huge hit. Last week, more than 1,500 people showed up to hear his presentation at the ROM. The enormous response to his submission indicates just how primed the city is for a project as big, bold and brave as this.

Therein lies the secret of Libeskind's success; his understanding of what the project means to Toronto. For years the federal and provincial governments have neglected the city and it's showing. Many recognize Toronto is a city in serious decline, a city in need of a big gesture and an act of civic faith such as this.

Libeskind, a sculptor doubling as an architect, is aware of the medium's vast capacity to serve as a symbol. The old clich* that form follows function couldn't be more wrong; form follows fantasy, it is a dream about what can be achieved.

But Libeskind is also practical; his proposal will add 40,000 square feet of space to the museum. This translates into six new galleries, which means more of the ROM's vast collection can be displayed. If all goes according to plan, construction will start in the spring of 2003 and be completed two years later. ROM officials say that the museum will remain open, at least partially, during construction.

"The overwhelming public reaction to our competition speaks volumes about Toronto's appetite for change," argues ROM president and CEO William Thorsell. "When you're dealing with a public institution like this, you've got to make it a public process. People in the city have a great interest in the city."

One of the things people are also talking about is who will pay the price. The remake is budgeted at $200 million, much of that expected to come from Ottawa and Queen's Park.

Though neither level of government has committed itself specifically to the ROM, both have made encouraging noises. Federal Transport Minister David Collenette told The Star last week that the cabinet has approved $260 million for Toronto, $120 million of that for cultural projects.

Ontario Culture Minister Tim Hudak, who made the announcement yesterday, sounded positive. His mere presence indicates the province is getting ready to ante up its share of the ROM's $50 million request. "The government has made a decision," Hudak said. "The Premier and I will be making an announcement in the next few weeks."

Insiders now say that Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Premier Mike Harris will get together in Toronto within 10 days to hand out the cash.

The ROM is one of many cultural organizations applying for funding under the SuperBuild program, however. Others include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Canadian Opera Company and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.

Sources say the museum will receive at least $35 million of its $50 million request, with the rest to follow in two years.

The ROM wasn't built in a day, but it changed in an afternoon


If anyone's interested, I have photos of the models of all three finalists.

Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
I definitely like the "Crystal" the best... though the idea for a public access rooftop would have been sweeeeeet.

Yay, i'm excited! The ROM was getting so boring.



TRIBE Member
i like the crystal the best too.

bing thom's was really nice too.

tommy, how come you don't think it addressed specific context to our city?
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
well my opinion is based on a comparison to Bing Thoms presentation the day before...Thom was big on making it a more accessible meeting place for people coming from yorkville, U of T and downtown by opening up the ROM to philosophers walk, the south entrance and the new north entrance. I think Libeskind's design does the opposite. Its boldness will lure the curious inside, but it creates much more of a shell at that location, closing itself off from the intersection (in a manner similar to the standoffish Bata museum). The purpose of the project is to try and double their attendance, and i think this design will lure people based on its "world class" design(er), but i don't think the winning design is as accessible to pedestrians.

Bing Thoms big thing was to attract visitors to use it as a meeting spot without necessarily actually paying to see the exhibits. Free access to the rooftop cafe/restaurant, and another cafe/restaurant on philosophers walk would make the even ROM more of a cultural icon.

I absolutely loved Libeskind's Jewish museum, and i really love his style (which is similar to visionary, Zaha Hadid), but i'm not sold on this winning design.


TRIBE Member
I liked the last two, but I think I like the crystal one better. Imaginge the cool lightwork they could do.

Tommy, couldn't they just get him to modify the entrance ways, I mane construction han't begun yet.
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
The winning design is only a preliminary vision - they have to crank out all the details now that they've won the contract. Personally, I don't think he'll change the entrance since the current design matches his first vision that he sketched out on a paper napkin.

Plus, people seem to like it the way it is now. If it were me, I would use the concept of the crystal, but I would apply it in a different way.

A chacon son gout.


Well-Known TRIBEr
I don't like it, to me it looks like the crash collision of two uncomplimentary styles. But that's just personal

The problem is that it's still just window dressing, the ROM is hopelessly small (they only exhibit 15% of what they have!) and the last additions were brutally designed (the next set won't change that). The worst part is that for $200 million they could rip down the existing structure and replace it with something good. It's a waste of money.


TRIBE Member
tommy have you considered that a lot of the ROM's operating revenue comes from private events hosted in the private, exclusive, and really expensive five star rooftop restaurant? i hihgly doubt the ROM would weaken that hold. the ROM is a snobbish place and a lot of it's money comes from private donations from rich people who hold their private snobbish functions there.

if they made it more public they would be kissing both the profits from the events and the donations form the people who throw and attend them good bye.

i like the look of the crystal but i wonder if anybody considered that antiquities do very, very poorly when exposed to sunlight.

i liked the themes of the thoms' design but thought it impractical considering the nature of the ROM. it might have been best for the people of toronto but will come nowhere near the international icon the 'the crystal' will be.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by mr tall
I don't like it, to me it looks like the crash collision of two uncomplimentary styles. But that's just personal

i actually thought that was it's strength, the contrast....

the ROM is a mueseum of natural history (i worked there, you will never believe how many people show up looking for the paintings), the point is, i immediatley saw a parallel between 'the crystal' and the way, in nature, a crystal would be attached to a piece of ordinary stone, like granite. i think it that way the new design is best reflective of the nature and purpose of the rom.


TRIBE Member
yes Rosey - i am well aware of the private funding the ROM receives...

... i don't hate the design - i just think it could be better ;) all this talk heightens my anticipation to hear if i've been accepted into UofT's masters of architecture program.

tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
also, i know why Bing Thom didn't win....

1)his design didn't actually increase the amount of exhibit space and

2)the ROM isn't interested in attracted people that won't pay to get in.

3)he's not as renowned as the famed Libeskind.


TRIBE Member
I have been watching this with great interest... And i'm very happy that Libeskind is the one that they chose. Tommy, remember our conversation about Charles St and the thoughts on how it has some of the best buildings in the city? Old Vic, Isabel Bader Theatre, Rowell Jackman Hall, and especailly Burwash Hall. (hahah, i'm such a vic snob...) I'm delighted that this project is going ahead, as it will make the area even more architecturally diverse and beautiful.

Can't wait to watch it being built over the next couple of years. Should be astounding. And I'm also ecstatic that the beloved ROM will have new and improved gallery space for new and exciting exhibitions. :)

Cheers. -Duncan


TRIBE Member
I think that this city needs to be updated architecturally especially in the downtown core. This could be just the project to do it. Sure we have the U of T graduate house - a small scale piece of deconstructivist architecture but I hardly think that's enough. I like the Crystal, Libeskind's supermodernist approach is truly architecture in ecstasy. It's monolithic proportions will make this piece a landmark in itself. This is the face lift that this overly done modern/post-modren city needs.

But I do agree on the point about the entrance. If you notice though this is a common flaw in architecture in the city of Toronto. Many of the buildings here are done well from an large scale perspective but few fail to connect to the ground with success. Entrances and the ground levels of buildings thus become awkward, decorated walls. The importance of the pedestrian is removed.
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
Its too bad that Frank Gehri was not one of the candidate for the design. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao he designed is by far one of the most stunning piece of architechture in recent times. I would have like to seen what he might have been able to come up with for the ROM.

And he is a Canadian to boot !


TRIBE Member
I submitted a design as well but I didn't win :(

I basically just copied the ROM that was already there. Then I added some fins for wind resistance. And the racing stripes I added were pretty sharp.


Staff member
I agree Tyler, that one has paid for itself over and over from tourist revenue and ticket sales. I wonder if this new gallery will do the same...


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by MBoy
I have been watching this with great interest... And i'm very happy that Libeskind is the one that they chose. Tommy, remember our conversation about Charles St and the thoughts on how it has some of the best buildings in the city? Old Vic, Isabel Bader Theatre, Rowell Jackman Hall, and especailly Burwash Hall. (hahah, i'm such a vic snob...) I'm delighted that this project is going ahead, as it will make the area even more architecturally diverse and beautiful.

that's not snobishness, that is an acurate appreciation of some of the best buildings in the city. ;) that new office one across from RJ is nice too.

personally the Old Vic building is my favourite in the city. i love how it is well proportioned while asymmetrical.

<--- vic '02

back on topic, are you aware that the ROM only displays less than 5% of it's collection at any time...some of the stuff would be uninteresting to look at, but a lot more could be there. a design that didn't add new galleries had 2.9 strikes against it already.

and grad house is the ugliest piece of crap ever built. it looks like they just scoped up a ton of slag form sudbury and dumped it in downtown toronto.

<--- has issues with impratical architecture


TRIBE Member
My understanding is that Gehry is designing a new ring for the AGO, but thats hearsay.

Also, to clarify my position further, i'm coming at architecture from a human factors/ergonomics angle and human-centred design.
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders