“This is a story of a man’s ambition: for a museum, for a city, and ultimately, for himself…”
Thus begins The Museum, Kenton Vaughn’s insider glimpse into Daniel Libeskind’s controversial extension to Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. The documentary, which is released on dvd this weekend, is a revealing look at the process of building the ROM crystal, from the hubris and passion to the dangers of pinning ones’ hopes on ‘starchitecture’.
Architect Daniel Libeskind explains the concept of his building to ROM director William Thorsell. Image: nationalpost.com
William Thorsell seems to have been so convinced of Libeskind’s star power – “I feel like the person in the middle of a miracle,” he says – that he was blinded to the realities of the situation, most notably that Libeskind wasn’t all that experienced.
Admittedly, VoCA finds the ROM crystal deplorable, mostly due to its lack of quality in construction, material and design. We think that the ROM deciders could have (should have) chosen a young, gutsy, innovative firm and spent more on the details.
The interior. Image: torontoist.com
Now it’s here, what are we going to do? One can only hope that the ROM curators eventually stop being precious with the architecture and begin making innovative, exciting curatorial decisions. (These needn’t be expensive, we’re talking about lights, lettering and paint)
Click HERE to watch a great time lapse video of the construction.
In the meantime, The Museum provides an engaging look inside the process, from the over-the-top mutual admiration and air kisses between Thorsell and the architect, to the grumblings of longstanding curators, to the public meeting where the proposed condo attachment was roundly defeated.
The film ends with a bang, delivered with gusto by narrator Colm Feore: “Friedrich Nietzsche said ‘Man’s pride is made visible in architecture.’ Today, William Thorsell is a proud man.”