LIVING IN THE CRYSTAL AGE – ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM
It would seem there is no debating the aesthetic merits of the jagged new edition to the Royal Ontario Museum, you either love it or hate it. The ROM Crystal in Toronto may be the most hated architectural structure in Canada. Philip Kennicott, art and architecture critic at The Washington Post called it being both ugly and useless. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition has become one of Toronto’s favorite attraction. The glass and aluminum that jut out of the original ROM is a huge contrast to the traditional quiet building that stood since 1914.
Michael Lee-Chin’s extraordinary $30 million gift to the ROM demonstrates his gratitude to this country for the opportunities it has given him and his family. He hopes that his example might be an inspiration to young Canadians to act on their aspirations and become leaders in their own communities. In the summer of 2007 Toronto celebrated the official opening of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, it marked the beginning of the Crystal Age for the ROM.
Located at the corner of Bloor and Avenue Road for over a decade, the original shock is softening and Torontonians are learning to accept the Crystal, it has become an important addition to Toronto. Most of us prefer the status quo when it comes to architecture but sometimes taking a risk to accept the unique and different can pay off.