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ROM reveals plans for new public plaza

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 22, 2014

toronto romThe Royal Ontario Museum has revealed plans for a new public plaza and green border that will bring trees, flowers, and grass to the corner of Queen's Park and Bloor Street. The designers of the all-season "outdoor gallery," Hariri Pontarini Architects and landscape architect Claude Cormier, whose team was responsible for Sugar Beach, hope the overhaul will "humanize" the public space on three sides of the 100-year-old museum.

Currently, much the area skirting the museum (with the exception of Philosopher's Walk) is concrete sidewalk with little in the way of trees or greenery. The plaza in front of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, scaled back significantly from the original plan and often crowded with tour groups, is little more than a few stone benches arranged amid a scattering of signs.

toronto romThere will be a performance space for the use of the museum, a new canopy over the main entrance and "totemic information sentinels," which appear to be vertical ad poles along the Bloor Street curb. The ROM, which has large natural history and wildlife departments, hopes the green space will double as an "outdoor gallery."

The Globe and Mail announced the project in February last year. At the time, the museum's vice-president of communications said the new plaza could be complete for March 19 this year provided it could find a way to cover the $3 million price tag.

The ROM turned 100 years old last week and the plaza is one of four centennial projects designed to transform how the museum welcomes and interacts with visitors.

What do you think of the designs?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.



Glavin / March 22, 2014 at 02:23 am
Now all they have to do is scrape that pos off the ROM.
moe / March 22, 2014 at 09:09 am
I look forward to 50 years from now when the trees completely block off that piece of sh*t facade.
Alana / March 22, 2014 at 09:24 am
Since when can trees grow in the shade? The entire plaza is cloaked in the shadow of the Crystal.
Justin replying to a comment from Alana / March 22, 2014 at 10:27 am
Its an odd place to place trees...
Jan / March 22, 2014 at 10:32 am
Desperately needed improvement for greening of public space and hopefully will help camouflage that hideous piece of inappropriate architecture.
Lea / March 22, 2014 at 10:42 am
If the structure was executed the way it was originally planned of pieces of glass that resemble CRYSTAL and not the cheap Home Depot siding you wouldn't need any sprucing up in the first place!
Phil / March 22, 2014 at 10:53 am
I'm surprised at the reaction of people on here to the ROM Crystal. To be a modern, world-class city I believe you need world-class and ambitious architecture - yes it divides opinions but it's what gives a city personality and something separates a city like Chicago, from say a Philadelphia in my opinion.

I'm always surprised that work by the likes of Gehry, Hadid, Lee-Chin, Rogers gets derided while the sheer volume of boring, cookie cutter dross often gets a free pass. Just look at the garbage going up along Yonge at the moment.
Stan replying to a comment from Phil / March 22, 2014 at 11:08 am
small-minded attitudes.

I agree its not as good as it could (and should) have been, but at least its different and interesting. It provokes reactions, and in a city like Toronto with the amount of bland, forgettable architecture we have, we need more of this.

Dave replying to a comment from Phil / March 22, 2014 at 11:28 am
In total agreement, Phil.
hilarious replying to a comment from Phil / March 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm
ha ha ha Phil actually called it "ROM Crystal", as if it looks anything remotely f'ing like the bill of architectural goods we were sold.

Liege replying to a comment from Phil / March 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm
thumbs up for open-minds like you!
Kim replying to a comment from Lea / March 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm
It was quickly determined that an all-glass structure would be detrimental to the museum's collections. You can't have that much direct sunlight.
Moonlight / March 22, 2014 at 12:32 pm
What did I tell you? Half these "letters" sound like they were fired off by the same narrow-minded Victorian who distrusts anything that doesn't look easily recognizable. Other cities in the world could and would have loved this new addition, but Toronto still has difficulty handling anything that does not have four walls in a rectangular shape. Read it and weep.
Dee / March 22, 2014 at 12:46 pm
I agree that this structure is a disappointment. I live in the area and visit often: it doesn't work for so many reasons. For example: in winter they have to block off most of the sidewalk due to falling ice from the crystal. I hope the"canopy" will address this problem. The best part of that area now is the philosopher's walk, so I'm happy to see it annexed. I am not adverse to new design - love what they did with the AGO!
David / March 22, 2014 at 01:33 pm
I guess now admission will be raised to $40? Keep out the poor!
ROM lover / March 22, 2014 at 02:04 pm
I'm all for more trees anywhere, but I think the money going towards this would be better spent improving some of the indoor sections of the crystal addition.

As people have pointed out or noticed there are portions that appear to be nothing more than finished drywall and metal grate flooring in some portions that deserve attention.
Bobo / March 22, 2014 at 02:42 pm

Anna / March 22, 2014 at 03:04 pm
@David they actually decreased the costs in 2011. It was previously 24 dollars for an adult ticket and now 15. I don't know what you're whining about. There is also a deal on Fridays.
Mir replying to a comment from Phil / March 22, 2014 at 07:12 pm
Just FYI, no one "derides the work of Lee-Chin" as Lee-Chin is the donor the crystal is named after. The architect responsible is Daniel Libeskind.
Intern / March 22, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Wow the composite sketch looks hideous! The person who did it just took stock photos and used the laziest way to photoshop them into the photos. Probably an intern did this. Oh wait, that's me working for free in Toronto.
Dennis Glenn replying to a comment from Bobo / March 23, 2014 at 08:30 am
LeslieC / March 23, 2014 at 09:52 am
Great news! A forest might obscure that Liebeskind intervention! ⊙īšâŠ™ Did Home Depot do the cladding?
LeslieC replying to a comment from Phil / March 23, 2014 at 10:05 am
Toronto is not "world class" it's hoser provincial. World class cities don't use Home Depot to clad their Libeskind crystal. World class cities don't use diesel trains for their airport link. World class cities don't institute a 5-cent plastic bag fee, and then rescind the 5-cent plastic bag fee lol.
lolz replying to a comment from LeslieC / March 23, 2014 at 10:48 am
Speaking of hosers, enter "LeslieC" with his/her/it's perverse definition of "World Class". haha!! Perhaps if our country had fewer hicktown douches like Leslie, it would someday become "World Class". No idea which backwater you live in, "Leslie" but don't bother visiting Toronto if you feel so strongly. In the meantime, hoser, take a hike, eh.
NativeTorontonianAl replying to a comment from LeslieC / March 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm
You're right. There's no point in denying it or protecting it when the results and state is right in front of us. Action only happens when you take action and are not pleased about a situation.
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