Daniel Libeskind at Royal Ontario Museum


Daniel Liebskind at Royal Ontario Museum

While we are on the subject, here are some recent photos of the nearly completed extension to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada by Daniel Libeskind.


Part of a project called Rennaisance ROM and officially titled the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the wing opens on 2 June.


Below is a statement from Libeskind about the project and some facts and figures:


Renaissance ROM

Extension to the Royal Ontario Museum: The Crystal

The program of the Royal Ontario Museum provides a wonderful opportunity for dramatic new architecture and the creation of a great public attraction. The centrality of the site intensifies the profound relationship between history and the new, between tradition and innovation.


The historical buildings, complemented by forward-looking and bold architecture, form an ensemble which regenerates the urban significance of the Museum, solves the complex functional issues, and dramatically improves exhibitions, facilities, programming and amenities.


The Crystal, a structure of organically interlocking prismatic forms, asserts the primacy of participatory space and public choreography. Its image, function and structure turn this important corner of Toronto into a luminous beacon, a veritable showcase of people, events and objects, transforming the entire museum complex into a world-class destination.


The sculptural composition of architectural forms radiates from the centrality of the entrance crystal gathering at its centre, the urban vitality of Bloor Street. A new group entrance on Queen’s Park is provided, whilst Philosopher’s Walk is marked and enlivened by a new entrance to the panoramic restaurant up above.


The visitors enter into a spectacular atrium in which the two themes of the Museum, Nature and Culture, are distinctly thematized through the interlocking spatial volumes with tantalizing glimpses of the exhibitions above.

The entire ground level is unified into a seamless space from North to South and from East to West. The resulting clarity of circulation and access creates a transparency in which the inherited architecture and new construction form an equilibrium of imaginative unity.

The well-tested presentation of Nature and Culture are not only updated through interactive technology but are visualized within the true magic and power of physically built space. One could imagine this building as a place where the public is engaged in an ongoing drama rather than a static 19th century museum which suggests that nature has been conquered and culture has been archived.

This building tells a unique and a particular story which crystallizes ROM’s programmatic content and the singularity of the site. The Crystal transforms the secretive and fortress-like character of ROM, turning it into an inspired atmosphere dedicated to the resurgence of the Museum as the dynamic centre of Toronto.

Daniel Libeskind

Berlin, February 4, 2002


completion: 2007

Royal Ontario Museum 
100 Queen's Park 
Toronto, Ontario 
M5S 2C6 

Royal Ontario Museum

Technical Details:
Building Area: 18,600 sq.m. (186,000 sq.ft) 

Steel structure with aluminum cladding and glass facade. 

Services Provided: 
Complete architectural services from inception to completion, renovation of existing museum building. 

Building Cost: 
USD 94 Million 

USD 154 Million (including exhibition)

Associate Architect: 
Bregman + Hamann Architects 

Structural Engineers: 

Posted on Monday May 14th 2007 at 9:42 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Grzechu

    even more ugly…

  • Nuno


  • rodger

    this will be a truly clastrophobic interior spacial experience. i have no doubt…. based on what i have seen elsewhere and what i have seen of this one.

    its a testiment to liebskins powers of persuasion that such a piece of architectural rubbish can end up being built.

  • savagexy


  • shahira

    this is a masterpiece!!! libeskind never fails….i think ROM extension is going to be a landmark..simply amazing:)

  • Incredible, us usual with libeskind.

    Visit my blog, there are a lot of pictures from great new projects.
    Soon I´ll include this masterpiece from daniel libeskind. In the midtime check out the Jewish Museum.


    Great blog!

  • Nenad Katic

    Another signature starchitect building… You either love or hate work by Liebeskind – me personally, I hate it.

  • Derrick Pryce

    what a waste, of money and space, i cannot understand with such a limited amount of space at the R.O.M.why
    Liebeskind. could not vision something more fitting, i alway have to remember the saying a sucker is born every minute. this design could have come up by a twelve year old, my daughter think it should be a solar panel for the R.O.M.

  • Wendy KENNEDY


  • Atelier Bison

    Fantastic photos, the best I’ve seen and I’ve been keeping track of this building for several years now. Opening night was unforgettable, it was such an amazing experience to explore the ROM at 1am with thousands of other young people excited by nothing more than an empty building.

    The interiors are far more rewarding than the brutal exterior which, despite its attempt to ‘engage’ the public on Bloor Street, failed to live up to the promise of the scheme’s earliest models and renderings which were absolutely breathtaking. A fascinating, albeit terribly expensive building.

    Oh well, at least Toronto can look forward to the AGO. The beautifully curved glulam columns have now just been installed along Dundas Street, and unlike the ROM’s incredible steel lattice, we’ll be able to enjoy the AGO’s structure once the cladding is installed. Hopefully dezeen will post some photos of the AGO soon for all to enjoy.

    Love your site, keep it up.

  • This makes me so sad. It looks like crumpled cigarette foil. Tis is like when in the 70’s they ruined a bunch of great architecture just for the sake of modernization. People need to start using their head and not allowing garbage like this, or the olympic logo to be put over on them as artistic. Liked the old building so much better. should have gone with the design by the guy wo updated the British Natural History museum… I wonder how many decades it will be before they admit the emperor’s palace looks like a Dada explosion at madison cube gardens.

  • Allen

    It looks messy and unfitting. There are a few buildings in that area of the same type of modern stature and I find them unappealing as well. The outside of the crystal looks quite awful, although the inside is nicer. But, Daniel Libeskind has failed to many people including myself in the hopes of modernization, and on all things a museum! Museums are about the distant past, therefore I think the old building was fitting. The ROM building is a part of Canadian history itself, and it looks as if it’s been vandalized.

  • jaguar

    this is not a building …!! this is …….boring

    • Milton

      this is not a building. this is architecture

  • zohaib

    this building is a revolution of sorts. libesind and a few others are steering the face of the new world of this millenium and they are role models of many. the question is what we learnt from the past and how we feel about what identifies us. perhaps this is what is a reflection of who we are. chaotic, broken, terrorized and parched. perhaps libeskinds philosophy can be seen from a different viewpoint. this chaos is the world today and it needs resurrection. but till then- welcome to the ROM.

  • bill dauterive

    Space Alien Arrives in Toronto, Commences to Eat Building!!!

    It’s one thing to build such a thing as an independent and freestanding structure, but to destroy a landmark by grafting this thing onto it is vandalism (as others have noted).

    Kandinsky and Rubens were both good painters; if Kandinsky were to have made a painting by cutting up one of Rubens’ lesser works, he would also have been a vandal. This is not a philistine position, as some (e.g. Christopher Hume) have said. Rather, Hume’s support of this monstrosity brings his full body of intellectual pronouncements into disrepute.

  • John Hanson

    I used to visit the Royal Ontario museum every Saturday when I was a kid and knew it by heart. As an adult I dined regularly on the restaurant’s patio overlooking Bloor Street and the beautiful Chinese garden below. I returned for the first time since leaving Toronto four years ago and felt so sad. This monstrosity, this imposing architectural travesty, is so unfriendly. Inside the lobby is dark, cavernous and lifeless. The old lobby with its marble, vaulted ceiling and balcony was warm and welcoming. Now it is nothing of the kind…. just modern. YUCK! YUCK! YUCK!

  • Gareth Thompson

    I go to school literaly on the block over from the ROM. We frequent it often, and we did so before the changes. I remember when they prepared for the change they closed off many parts of the muesem, they still havent reopened them. All the new area’s are filled with construction workers and no items.

    Waste of good money. Sadly the conservatory next door is doing a inspired thing, thats slightly less crazy but still sad.

  • ROb Swan

    The crystal is an amazing engineering feat. I feel that the main goal was to create a building which will make the mind think. The crystal is designed to have no 2 angles the same, a feat no even sought by the Egyptians. I feel it is a masterpiece for the mind.

  • Tim

    I finally got around to visiting the crystal and found it a depressing experience – contrary to my expectations after following the contruction for so long. The entrance completly lacks in any drama whatsoever and is boringly white. The whole addition gives the impression of unfinshed drywall. The odd angles everywhere are not architecturaly exciting, merely disorienting and make mounting exhibits a nightmare in which the visitor gets to be a participant. Whoever thought that museum space resembling a 1925 expressionist film set would be a great idea for both the curators and the public? I left the crystal for the so-called heritage museum (if its a heritage, it’s been treated with disrespect) with a feeling of relief. This is junk architecture – a really bad idea that I’ll never visit again.

  • It’s quite Shit; capital S. A tired concept, which is really a one-liner if you ask me. The interior doesn’t work, walls are sloped, so functionally it’s wrong. Pointless to hire curators/museologists as consultants or whatnot. If it’s anything like the Berlin Jewish Museum, cramped spaces are just annoying. I don’t even want to start on the extrerior. First-year C- or D architecture project. Most likely a fail.. Would like to see some smart modern projects in Toronto.

  • Person of Interest

    The ROM addition is a monument to Daniel Libeskind, who demonstrates how all minor talents make headlines and commissions — a calculated succes de scandale. And before his expensive flash-in-the-pan building goes out of style and gets replaced, curators will struggle to utilize its arbitrary funhouse interior. But that is my opinion. What would a great architect think of Libeskind’s work? We may surmise by considering the words of Frank Lloyd Wright: “Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.”

  • Claire Price

    In responce to Derrick Pryce’s comment. A 12 year old would have a pretty hard time coming up with a design solution such as ROM, unless they had a degree in structural engineering along with one in mathermatics and physics and possibly building technology also. Designs such as this demand intelligence and skill. A true masterpiece from the master himself. As for a design that would be more fitting, I wonder what suggestions there might be to that? Mock period architecture from 200 years ago… Architecture does not have to look the same in order to fit in..

  • One is about the curves [Frank G.] the other is about the acute angles {D.L}

  • Al

    It’s funny how locals usually hate groundbreaking architecture in their cities, but as soon as the building is opened everyone’s opinions seem to change. And the building ends up amazing non-locals, winning awards front and centre.

    I’m in Perth and everyone’s original attitude towards the Perth arena (quite a similar design) was similar to the comments here, before it was completed. Including me!