Crystal

We are, of course, in Toronto. The big T.O., or more recently, T Dot. The big smoke.

We return to Calgary on June 1st. The new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the uber modern extension to the Royal Ontario Museum, opens on June 2nd.

Damn!

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One look at this monstrosity/masterpiece, and you will instantly form an opinion. And while I’m not entirely sure that it’s as marvelously respectful of the original old building as some might suggest, it’s such a quirky, in-yer-face kind of proposition, that it can’t fail to raise a t least a bit of fuss.

And isn’t that what bold architecture is all about, anyways?

The Star’s urbanism reporter, Christopher Hume, is a fan:

Designed by New York-based Daniel Libeskind, this is 21st century architecture at its most brilliant. Make no mistake about it; this is Libeskind at his best. True, the Crystal bears an uncomfortable resemblance to many of his other projects – the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Denver Art Gallery, for example – but to put it simply: it works.

Though he can be rightly criticized for approaching architecture as an exercise in applied style, the Crystal shows Libeskind’s remarkable ability to create beautiful spaces, if not exquisite objects.

And despite its deliberate in-your-face esthetic, here’s a structure that spares no effort to give back to the city as much as it takes, no, more. Now that the ROM’s entrance is on Bloor St., set back as much as 20 metres from the sidewalk, we will soon have a new public space on one of Toronto’s most important intersections. It’s this kind of commitment to urbanity that raises the Crystal to the level of greatness.

And I’m a big fan as well. Who can’t but be a fan when you can see the dinosaurs (not yet installed), through the windows, from Bloor St.?

You won’t be a fan if you don’t like the Glass Pyramid at the Louvre, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, or OCAD’s Sharp Centre for Design in Toronto.

But then again, you probably didn’t like the Eiffel Tower, either, so bite on that.

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