The museum is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion project, dubbed Renaissance ROM, located at the corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road, north of Queen’s Park and on the east side of Philosopher’s Walk in the University of Toronto. The centrepiece is the recently-opened Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind and Bregman + Hamann Architects; installation of exhibits in the addition will continue over a period of months. Existing galleries and buildings are also being modified. Renovated galleries in the historic buildings will reopen in stages, and all work is scheduled to be completed by 2010. The final cost of the project will be $270 million CAD.
The Libeskind design, selected from among 50 entrants in an international competition, saw the award winning Terrace Galleries torn down and replaced with a Deconstructivist crystalline-form clad in 25 percent glass and 75 percent aluminium. The building is named after Michael Lee-Chin, who donated $30 million towards its construction. It houses the new main entrance to the museum, a gift shop, a restaurant (C5 Restaurant and Lounge), a cafeteria (Food Studio), seven additional galleries and Canada’s largest temporary exhibition hall in the lower level.
The Crystal’s canted walls do not touch the sides of the existing heritage buildings, save for where pedestrian crossing occurs and to close the envelope between the new form and the existing walls. Although designed to conform to existing height restrictions and maintain sight lines along Bloor Street, the Crystal, at certain points, cantilevers over the setback and into the street allowance.
The building’s design is similar to some of Libeskind’s other works, notably the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre, and the Fredric C. Hamilton Building at the...