Saturday, September 28, 2013

Roaming at the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM is a very big museum, — one of the largest in North America and among the world's leading museums of natural history and world cultures, attracting over 1 million visitors annually — and it's impossible to see it all in a single visit.

Rom older collageROM 0926 16

The museum contains notable collections of dinosaur, minerals and meteorites as well as an extensive collection of design and fine arts, including clothing, interior, and product design, especially Art Deco. People have been visiting it since it opened in 1914 to see over six million objects in its collections and 40 galleries of art, archaeology and natural science. 

Tyranasarus rex collageROM dinosaur heads

Four giant carved totem poles rise in the centre of the stairwells; the largest is over 80 feet tall. The museums's hands-on Biodiversity gallery gives families an interactive experience about the interdependence of people, animals and plants.

ROM totemEstablished in April 1912 and opened 2 years later, the museum maintained close relations with the University of Toronto throughout its history, sharing expertise and resources. The ROM was originally under the university's direct control and management until 1968, when it became an independent institution. Today, it is Canada's largest field-research institution, with activities spanning the globe.

Designed by Toronto architects, the architectural style of the original building is Italianate Neo-Romanesque. The structure is heavily massed and punctuated by rounded and segmented arched windows with heavy surrounds and hood moldings  Other features include applied decorative eave brackets, quoins (masonry blocks at the corner of a wall) and cornices (horizontal decorative moldings).

ROM older collage2

Beginning in 2002, the museum underwent a major renovation and expansion project dubbed as Renaissance ROM. The Provincial and Federal governments, both supported this venture and contributed $60 million towards completion. The campaign aimed to not only raise annual visitor attendance from 750,000 to over a million and a half, but to generate additional funding opportunities to support the museum's research, conservation, galleries, and educational public programs.

ROM newer collageROM 0926 46

The centerpiece of the project, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, (named after its benefactor who gave $30 million towards completion) was a major addition to the building's original framework. The structure was created by architect Daniel Libeskind whose design was selected from among 50 finalists in an international competition. Libeskind is known for being selected to be the master plan architect to oversee the rebuilding of the NYC World Trade Center. The crystal derives its name from the building's five intersecting volumes, which are reminiscent of crystals. The intersection of two of the crystals, each of which is dedicated to new galleries, creates a void, known as the Spirit House.

ROM 0926 62Rom color BW

The design saw the Terrace Galleries torn down and replaced with a desconstructivist (see below) crystalline-form structure, named after Michael Lee-Chin who donated $30 million towards its construction. Existing galleries and buildings were also upgraded, along with the installation of multiple new exhibits over a period of months. The first phase of the Renaissance ROM project, the Ten Renovated Galleries in the Historic Buildings, opened to the public on 26 December 2005. The Architectural Opening for the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, however, took place years later in June 2007. The final cost of the project was about $270 million (Canadian).

ROM B W collage

Deconstructivism is a development of postmodern architecture that began in the late 1980s and is characterized by fragmentation, manipulating a structure's surface or skin, and non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture, such as  structure. The finished visual appearance of buildings that exhibit deconstructionist "styles" is characterized by unpredictability and controlled chaos. An earlier post on the Absolute Towers (Marilyn in Mississauga) is another example of this style.


Sandra said...

i love that crystal building, and i am oh so happy i did not live when those 80 foot tall guys roamed the earth and I for one am glad they are extinct.

Montanagirl said...

Amen to what Sandra said! The crystal building is rather interesting.

Daisy said...

I visited there years ago. It is a very interesting place with so much to see. Great pictures!

Country Gal said...

I haven't been to that museum for years . Thanks for showing some of our Ontario sites from your trip . Papa and I rarely go to the cities now a days as we are more small farm town folk . We both would love to visit parts of the states one day but that wont be till he is retired so we can both enjoy it together and not have to worry about a time frame lol. All on our bucket list lol Have a good and save trip home !

Out on the prairie said...

What a fun place, I enjoy Natural History museums

Anonymous said...

I do like how the old building looks but the new one, not so much :-) But I would love to be eble to walk around there for a week or so to see everything :-)

Have a great day!

Leonora said...

I'm still loving this trip. Thanks for taking us all along!

Lois Evensen said...

What a wonderful place! I like the old architecture much better than the new, though. We have some of the new architecture in Cincinnati and it has caused all sorts of problems with leaking buildings, corners not staying together, etc.

DeniseinVA said...

I have been very interested in your vacation. Looks like you are having a great time. I am off to Germany this afternoon. Bags are packed and the taxi will pick us up in a couple of hours. Have a great week :)

Anvilcloud said...

ROM is a fine computer term, as is RAM, which you have greatly neglected.

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