Friday, November 10, 2006

ROM Extended

Subtitle: The Thriteen Dollar Posting. Yeah. I broke down and paid $12.95 for the right to have internet access in my very own room in the Trump Taj Mahal hotel. Gad, this place sucks. But, in continuation of recent habit of spatial-temporal displacement...

As you may remember from previous postings, I was in Toronto last weekend. Driving from the hotel to the airport, well into downtown Toronto, I looked out the van window and suddenly saw this strange, faceted building under construction:

ROM from below
My reaction probably starteled the others in the van, as I reached across the seat to point, shouting in surprise like I'd just seen an Elvis parade or something even less common. But there was good reason for surprise: the building under question is none other than the extension to the Royal Ontario Museum, designed by my old boss, architect Daniel Libeskind.

For the 15 months I worked at Studio DL, I watched as construction started on the extension and the building slowly grew to resemble the models and renderings I dealt with on a daily basis — steel frames making vague suggestions at first, and then cohering into the seemingly improbable, defiant forms now evident:


This was the first time I'd ever seen a Libeksind building face-to-face, whether completed or under construction. Even after having been exposed to this and countless other designs over the course of my stay at the office, many of them, including the ROM extensi
on, seemed too surreal to ever be fully realized outside the realm of concept sketches, models, and computer renderings, despite the knowledge that a handful had attained such status, and others were on their way. So to stand next to the building pictured above, to experience it at the proper scale — even just to observe from beyond the construction fence — was incredibly satisfying, and I daresay inspiring.

The two pics above are part of a larger set posted on Flickr, for those who may be interested.

If the ROM extension twists your brain, check out the newly-opened Extension to the Denver Art Museum. For the October opening, they flew the entire office out to Denver — well after I left the office, of course. And I'm not jealous at all. Pictures of all completed Libeskind buildings, including Denver, can be found on the photographers' website, BitterBredt.de.

Coming tomorrow: Impressions of Atlantic City. Judging from the opener, I'm sure you can take a stab at the general slant of the content...

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