Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum held the official architectural opening and dedication of Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at a free sunset public event in June 2007. Governor General Michaelle Jean officially opened the new wing of the ROM, named in honor of Michael Lee-Chin, who donated $30 million to launch the expansion project.
Michael Lee-Chin Crystal is the core of the $250-million Renaissance ROM project, which renewed more than 75 per cent of the ROM's historic 1914 and 1933 buildings. Canada's largest heritage restoration has created ten additional galleries inside the historic buildings.
ROM Crystal galleries
Studio Daniel Libeskind, in a joint partnership with Toronto's Bregman + Hamann Architects designed the 175,000 square foot, aluminum-and-glass-covered Lee-Chin Crystal. It boasts large light-filled public areas, seven permanent galleries on four floors, two special exhibitions, shopping and dining facilities and the main entrance to the ROM.
Michael Lee-Chin Crystal was built from five interlocking, self-supporting prismatic structures embraced by historic buildings. Its sloping walls create soaring interior spaces. The Spirit House, a space in the heart of the building, is traversed by criss-crossing bridges.
Windows admit natural light and frame views of the city outside. Large and small sections of the historic facades are revealed on the interior, while modern walls form dramatic backdrops for historic artifacts. The Stair of Wonders, with its cabinet of curiosities, and new elevators link the historic museum wings.
What's on each level of Lee-Chin Crystal
Level 1 features the lobby, the four-story interior Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court, the Stair of Wonders, the Spirit House and the ROM Museum Store, including ROM Reproductions. Level 1B houses the ROM Food Studio in the Philosophers' Walk Building.
The Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall, the largest space for international exhibitions in Canada, is on Level 2B. Besides open gallery space, on Level 2, the public can see the Jim and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and the Ajmera Family Gallery of the Age of Mammals.
Level 3 has open gallery space, the Gallery of Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific, the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery and the Gallery of the Middle East. The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume and more gallery space is on Level 4.
Chef Corbin Tomaszeski offers brunch, lunch, dinner and fixed price menus in his 120-seat c5 (Crystal 5) restaurant lounge. Food Studio is a 325-seat cafeteria and family restaurant. Besides pizza, soup and sandwiches, it sells ethnic foods.