Magazine article ROM Magazine

A Clear Case for Crystal: You May Think You've Heard the Last Word on the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, but These Dazzling Thinkers Offer Provocative Must-Reads on a Building That Is Changing the Face of Toronto

Magazine article ROM Magazine

A Clear Case for Crystal: You May Think You've Heard the Last Word on the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, but These Dazzling Thinkers Offer Provocative Must-Reads on a Building That Is Changing the Face of Toronto

Article excerpt

When they build, cultural institutions have a responsibility to serve as patrons of great architecture -the most public of the arts. They should be among society's most creative and contemporary agents of architecture, whatever their mission in preserving the past. By definition, art moves boundaries. As patrons of architecture, museums must seek to create as well as to collect art.

Architecture has many other dimensions, of course. It exists in a particular context and serves essential practical purposes. While truly great architecture stands as art on its own terms, it is art that resolves, works, and endures. It is a demanding assignment.

In our culture, we are at a transformative period in architecture. We have emerged from almost a century of modernism, defined by the Bauhaus with its ideology of efficiency, simplicity, practicality, and coincidence of form and function. The International Style in architecture created brilliant works within this paradigm, but like most paradigms in a culture, it has run its course.

The authentic successor to this period is not "post-modernism," which appeared briefly in the 1980s and 1990s as a mostly ironic throwback to earlier ages-"pre-modernism" in effect. It is the intensely personal architecture of artists--works not derived from an ideology or social consensus, but from an inspiration, a vision, a psychology--that now takes the fore. This is the architecture of Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid, and Daniel Libeskind, among others. …

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