The long anticipated transformation of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is done. The AGO raised a staggering $300M from patrons and businesses and hired Canadian (now LA-resident) starchitect, Frank Gehry, to undertake the design after a scribble he drew on a scrap of paper.
The result with its use of wood, glass and titanium is gorgeous. The AGO is having it’s grand reopening this weekend and G, Blee and I were in line bright and early (in the rain) with several thousand other Torontonians to see the result. The gallery space has been expanded tremendously and overall I’m very impressed. There are four very-Gehryesque constructs within the space – two hits and two misses.
The “barnacle” is a wood and glass staircase that connects the 5th and 4th floors and sticks like a zebra mussel on the south side of the titanium wall. In the original Walker Court is the still-to-be-completed Gehry Grand Staircase. While – granted – a structural marvel, it seems missed placed to me despite it’s wandering, weaving ascent to the 5th floor.
The Galleria Italia, which runs the length of Dundas Street is a stunning space of light and wood that makes one feel like they are moving within the hull of some medieval ship. It is lovely in every respect and will certainly prove to be one of Toronto’s newest ‘it’ spots for receptions and the ilk I am sure. And the always-great chef, Anne Yarymowich‘s former and splendid “Agora” restaurant has been moved way forward right onto Dundas street and rechristened “Frank“. The menu looked great and we look forward to trying it soon.
4) Will Aslop’s Ontario College of Art & Design taken from the 5th floor of AGO; 5) the titanium cladding