To comment scroll to the bottom of the entry. Your e-mail address and URL are optional fields.

2006 08 04
Building the ROM Crystal - Status 29, Building the New AGO - Status 3
Our two favourite arts megaprojects continue their inevitable if not somewhat achingly slow progress towards completion. Contrasting these two work-in-progress images reveals much about the conceptual and even philosophical underpinnings of the projects. The ROM's Crystal, clearly, is about a figure-ground relationship with the city where the object stands in sharp contrast with its context. The choice of construction cam vantage points plays off the otherness of the crystal that is - now that I reflect on it - somewhat like a diamond on a ring. It represents a historically significant cultural engagement bound by a traditional celebration of the object. There is a coolness here dictated by standing back and looking with - we hope - appreciation. The museum of artifacts.

Contrast that view to the AGO's webcam. Like the gallery itself the construction image is one of a constantly changing fabric of activity and process within the context of a neighbourhood that is a column of extremes from Victorian homes to ethnic shopping centres to the chaos of Queen Street. The AGO's choice of architect and the means by which they arrived at this design solution is, not surprisingly, like the thing itself. There is a tumble of cultural processes bound together not by one specific iconographic form but by a collection of internal solutions that punch through the building's envelope in a myriad of different ways. This building, when complete, will be about experiencing an ongoing cultural dialogue with the artists, curators, and designers who help define the city we inhabit. In a way it is the progeny of Wright's New York Guggenheim which made art part of a spiraling procession down an off-ramp. Here that procession is made far more complex and multivalent through the use of advanced visualization technologies as well as the creative vision of the designers. There will be less standing back in the AGO. The museum of cultural process.

So, there it is. The observation of two construction webcams reveals much about who we think we are and where we are going. Which - and I ask this question only to prompt discussion - is the better solution?
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 08/04 at 01:05 PM

Next entry: The Real Cost Of Suburbia

Previous entry: Anatomy of Attitudes

<< Back to main

Archive Search

Related Links
Toronto Stories by
Toronto Links
Your Opinions

Other Blogs
News Sources