Sunday, November 22, 2009

Royal Ontario Museum Makes It Big!

The addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, that ugly white pimple on the face of one of the most dignified buildings in our fair city, as I once described it, has now made a list of the Ten Ugliest Buildings in the World. It sits at #8, which suggests to me that it can't even be the best at what it is good at - namely, at being ugly.

Now that is what I call putting Toronto on the map. Ouch.

Virtual Tourist has pictures of the (shudder) whole list here. The picture from this website is bad enough, but the picture accompanying the Toronto Star article on it has the whole ROM leaning dangerously to the right like some sort of drunken sailor. Well, if I were a stately and dignified old building like the ROM and someone attached that monstrosity to my north side, I'd likely be looking for the bottle too.

The only question I have is why the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto, which is just down the street and around the corner from the ROM, is not on the list too? It looks like a Stalin-era, "subsidized apartments for the new Soviet man," concrete slab of human cubicles with no symmetry, form or balance. It looks like someone ordered a certain sized load of concrete and then they just stuck things on until the supply ran out and called it finished.

Why does a city like Toronto have so many inhumane and nerve-wracking buildings and why do all the human-friendly and nourishing structures date from the era of the "oppression" by Christian forces prior to World War II? It's just one of the little mysteries of life, I guess.

1 comment:

mnfu said...

I really don't care what Virtual Tourist says, I drive by the ROM several times a week and I quite like the structure. If anything it was the start of a visible effort by Toronto to once again actually have some interesting architecture - Alsop's OCAD and Gehry's AGO have followed suit. They are nice tonic to the glut of dull-looking condos and offices that populate too much of this city.

I also don't think that one has to oppose newer, perhaps more radical-looking buildings with the gothic-revival masterpieces that once dominated the city skyline. Actually, we can breathe new life into them: http://civitatedei.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/give-me-that-old-time-religious-architecture/