At Least He Spelled Toronto Right

In an article published on Dec. 27/09, the culture critic for the Washington Post selected the structural (in my opinion) blight that that extends from the north side of the Royal Ontario Museum as his choice for the decade’s worst new building, or addition to an existing building, or remodelling of an existing building. There was just one nominee.

You’ll have to sign up to read the article, but it’s free.

Best of the decade: Architecture
Dec 27/09

The worst

The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. Sure, there were a lot of Wal-Marts thrown up in the Aughts, but Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto surpasses the ugliness of bland functional buildings by being both ugly and useless. His aluminum-and-glass-clad crystalline forms grow out of the building’s original 1914 structure, and from the street it’s dramatic. But go inside and you need a map to move around its irrational and baffling dead spaces.

And where do you put art in a room of canted walls? Curators seem as baffled and frustrated by it as casual visitors. And it cost only $250 million.

It’s a good thing nobody told him how much the Skydome (now called the Rogers Centre) cost to build. And what Rogers paid for it, officially.

Cost: Approximately $600 million (Canadian; 1989); sold for $85 million (Canadian; 1998); sold to the Blue Jays for $25 million (Canadian; 2005)
data from:

The article’s 5 best structures are – the links will take you to a “Google Images” search result –

Tate Modern (in the other London, not Ontario’s)

Beijing National Stadium

Disney Hall (Los Angeles)

Seattle Central Library (Seattle, Washington)

Alice Tullly Hall (Washington, D.C. N.Y., N.Y.)


Everybody who realizes that 2009 isn’t the last year of the decade, for the same reason ttat 1999 wasn’t the last year of the last millennium, needn’t respond. [Sigh] You’d think a culture critic for the Washington Post, and a paper esteemed as that Post, would know that.

 Of course, I’m sure they do and they could have mentioned it, but what would be the point? It would be too elitist? snobbish? to decline to do what the others are doing, just because they’re wrong and you’re right. Still, that might be a good shtick. Do a “No, it’s not the end of the decade list but we’re doing one anyway list because …” Then, next year, you get to do a “the real end of the decade list(s).

Therefore, come Wednesday, party like it’s 1999.



  1. The Alice Tullly Hall (Washington, D.C.) is, I believe, actually located in New York.

  2. Fixed. Thank you.