External Architecture meets Internal Artistry: Where the Outside brings you in, and the Inside takes your breath away

May 10, 2009 § Leave a comment

Frank Gehry creates spaces, structures, and art.

In the $276 million dollar project, Frank Gehry had the responsibility of bringing Toronto’s AGO into the present moment and at the same time, preserving its past.

Call it fortunate or unfortunate; upon witnessing the external architectural work of Gehry, one either loves it, or loathes it. No fence sitting or ambiguity takes place in the decision-making process; with one quick glance, one long look, the decision is made.

Perhaps, you don’t like the west side on Beverly St. with its flat, dull, concrete surface. Perhaps, you find the blue surface on the south side of the building resembling an air/vapor barrier and think it looks unfinished or overpowering. Or, perhaps you would go so far as to say, walking up on Dundas St. is intense but once you get to the building your view is thwarted and you can no longer appreciate the whole building.

These are the basic, legitimate claims, from a city that has acquired a newfound critical eye on its architecture.

Yet, regardless of your feelings about the exterior design, the transparency of the glass curved surfaces on the Dundas street exterior or “the porch” as Gehry himself calls it, beckons the art enthusiast to the interior – into the home, into very heart of the AGO.

Once inside, it becomes undeniable what Gehry has done. Gehry has brought an incredible sensitivity to the space, to the handling of natural light, and most importantly, to the collections housed within its walls. The seeming vastness of the space was conducive to appreciating and focusing in on the new contemporary pieces showcased on the fourth and fifth floor.

Gehry has delicately reframed the pieces with new spaces, each individual and exhilarating. The view of the frames and wood beams in the Walker Court are welcoming and friendly, inspiring a moment just to take in the shape of the space.

The view within the new barnacle staircase is incredible. By creating this unique place, Gehry has showcased the skyline as the most prominent new exhibition.

Frank Gehry has not renovated this building; he has intervened. Providing Toronto with the perspective to witness what is fresh about our city and its art with bright, illuminating spaces and a thrilling cityscape.

Alexia Citak

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