P1020218Vitruvius called architecture the mother of the arts. He meant that it encompassed the other arts—both physically, as in temple architecture, and chronologically. I  think that the maternal analogy was also meant to distance architecture from its more exuberant offspring, painting and sculpture;  “mother” implied a certain reserve and gravitas. Today, as Peter Buchanan writes in Architectural Review, the mother of the arts “has become reduced to superfluous spectacle.” A few days ago I saw Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “The Crystal” summons up images of delicate transparency, instead this clumsy construction looms over the sidewalk like an alien being, in the city but not part of it. It’s not much of a spectacle, either. The young woman walking by stares ahead, seemingly intent on ignoring this embarrassing architectural screamer.

2 Responses to YO MAMMA

  • Marvin McConoughey says:

    Concur, based on the limited information of online photographs. No shortage of flowery praise, however.

  • Paul says:

    Thank you! I passed this building 5 days each week while it was under construction. It felt as though I was witnessing an assault on the existing ROM building, with significant collateral damage to the street. Now, each time I pass, I hope to find a way to appreciate something about it, and each time I shake my head. It is confounding that an architect could inflict something so inconsiderate of place and purpose. Now that I’ve had the pleasure of watching his new ‘L’ tower go up downtown though, I’m almost ready to forgive him!

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