The Royal Ontario Museum is considered as Canada’s largest museum of world culture and natural history. Also known as the ROM, it is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the fifth largest museum in North America. It contains over six million items housed on the museum’s more than 40 galleries.
The Royal Ontario Museum was first opened in the early 1900’s. The early building was of Italianate Neo-Romanesque architectural design that was designed by Frank Darling and John A. Pearson. It underwent several expansion plans through the years which added into it structures that followed different architectural styles such as art deco and Byzantine inspired rotunda and new entrance. One wing was built following a Neo-Byzantine style with rusticated stone and tripled windows within recessed arches. Other structures were added through the years. But the recent addition and probably the most interesting building is the museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.
Michael Lee-Chin Crystal
The Royal Ontario Museum’s current centerpiece is this uniquely designed structure that was build during the museum’s renovation and expansion project called the Renaissance ROM. The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal was designed by Daniel Libeskind and Bregman + Hamann Architects. It was named after the philanthropist who donated around $30 million for its construction.
The Crystal’s design was selected among the 50 entrants in an international selection. It replaced the old Terrace Galleries which was torn down to give way to the new building. The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal follows a Deconstructivist architectural style and is composed of 25 percent glass and 75 percent aluminum structure. Its walls are uniquely angled and do not seem to have edges that stand perpendicular to the ground it sits upon.
The main lobby of the Crystal is a three-story high atrium. There are overlooking balconies along the sides of the lobby. The design of the structure aims to provide openness and accessibility to the museum. It also seeks to blur the lines between the public area of the passageway and streets and the private areas of the museum.