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Southeast view of Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, June 2007
Creator: Brian Boyle
Date of Image: June 2007
ROM Links: Michael Lee-Chin Crystal
Museum ID Number: ROM2007_9333_3
Image Number: ROM2007_9333_3

The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal and the new Bloor Street Plaza has completely transformed this urban streetscape. The 175,000 square-foot, aluminum- and glass-covered building houses eight new permanent galleries and a new main entrance and lobby that overlooks Bloor Street West.

Located at one of Canada’s most important intersections, the addition is a distinctive new symbol for the 21st century, forming the hub of Toronto’s renewed cultural district. This iconic building was designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, in a joint partnership with Toronto’s Bregman + Hamann Architects.

Libeskind’s concept for the shape of the new building was inspired by specimens from the ROM’s gem and mineral collection. The design was quickly dubbed the crystal because of its crystalline shape. It is comprised of five interlocking, self-supporting prismatic structures that co-exist and interface the historic buildings that embrace this dynamic structure. The buildings are attached via transverse bridges and the historic facades are revealed in large and small sections throughout the new wing to establish a unique dialogue between the three harmonious structures.

The Lee-Chin Crystal is the centerpiece of the Museum's $270-million Renaissance ROM expansion project. The dramatic new wing was named in honour of Michael Lee-Chin's lead donation of $30 million.

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