And now, snow

With these waning days of my vacation home the snow did finally come, delightfully covering all, with picturesque white laden trees, chilly temps and sweet winter goodness.  It is even snowing right now as I type… hooray!

It has been a great vacation, one that has sped by quickly, spending time with Dave and Kat, climbing at Coyotes (ah, yes, pinchers and pockets and slopers, oh my!  Sore forearms for days…), seeing James and Kel and great times at home with my parents.

Went to visit the Royal Ontario Museum yesterday, mostly to check out the new addition by Liebeskind but by excellent coincidence they are having an exhibit on the Maya that I also got to check out.  Last time I passed by it was just when the steel was going up for the new addition.  I have seen photos of the completed structure, and I’ve even heard a lecture by Libeskind about it, so I was excited to go and check it out for myself. 

And I say it is a fine addition to the museum.  The intersection, involvement and interplay between the old and the new make for some great spaces and juxtapositions, both inside and out.  The sharp angular forms that Libeskind prefers work very well here, from the enclosure down to the lines of grating that traced around the floor, to the strips of windows.  There are some great moments where the white purity of the ‘crystal’ forms are suddenly interrupted and pierced by a bit of the old brick structure poking through, forming an almost folly within the blank canvas.  Oddly, though, there are no similar intersections or traces of the new inserted within the old building. 

Besides creating a new entry and a grand new atrium, allowing the old entry way and main hall to be reclaimed for exhibitions, the crystalline addition provides new gallery spaces, including an excellent new home for the dinosaurs, where the angled walls and dynamic fenestration are the perfect kinetic backdrop for the reconstructed skeletons who are, by their poses, also caught mid-motion.  Add to it that the room is light and airy and it’s quite a stimulating space.  Perhaps the most exciting spaces overall were the top level galleries, where the ceilings and walls are one in their soaring angled forms.  Without the flat ceilings from every other level these spaces were almost cathedral-like.  Though that was the most exciting, there are also nice moments on the lower floors wherever the exterior faces come to a sharp point.  There, the museum chose to place seating, creating almost cozy yet still alive nooks where diffused light from the fenestration and the planes of the acutely joined walls coalesce to make an almost little space unto itself.  Much more exciting than simply sticking benches in the middle of the exhibition floor.

 The Maya exhibit itself was quite extensive.  Almost too extensive in some ways, for while the narrative being drawn spoke mostly about the classic Maya period (delving into the Post Classic briefly at the end of the exhibit) the artefacts during the exhibit were quite liberally chosen and from the Classic, Post Classic and everything in between, scattered amongst themselves.  Some delineation between the two, or even two narratives (more so that this is the narrative, and these are self-contained explorations of parts of the Maya life) would have been preferred.  That said, what was on display was quite exquisite, and it did a pretty good job giving an overview of the Maya people, their cities and their history.  I even got to see some work discovered by the ROM itself from Altun Ha, the site that was the focus of my Thesis at university (chosen specifically due to the extensive work done by the ROM and my professor at that site), so that was a nice little self-indulgent connection. 

The ROM is definitively a great place worth a visit, for the architecture and their permanent collections alone (including a great section on the Native Americans and the Canadians as well), and the Maya exhibit, if you can make it before it leaves, is just a bonus. 

PotD:  “We must use our history to learn that our lives were delightful and thrived through simplicity, and realize that we can thrive this way again.”

Packing and finishing up today before the flight home tomorrow.  Where has 2011 gone?

2 thoughts on “And now, snow

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