ROM unveils design for plaza and public realm

As part of its centennial celebrations, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has unveiled the proposed design for its Welcome Project – Plaza and Public Realm by Hariri Pontarini Architects with landscape architect, Claude Cormier. The Welcome Project is part of four ROM Centennial legacy projects that will all transform how the ROM welcomes and interacts with its visitors.

The design of this public space brings the totality of the ROM — the original 1914 building, the Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, Philosopher’s Walk to the west, its two street frontages, and its collections — together in a bold and singular gesture. The revitalization of the public promenade surrounding the ROM will enhance the pedestrian experience; whether arriving at the Main Entrance on Bloor Street West or from the subway station on Queens Park, visitors will be welcomed by an immersive and interactive environment even before entering the building. Using a number of strategies, including biodiversity gardens, community gathering areas and an outdoor performance space, the new space will function as the ROM’s first “outdoor gallery” and bring its content to life outside the Museum’s walls.

“Our aim is to create a singular public space the city [Toronto] will treasure, which will create another layer of attachment and engagement with the ROM,” says Siamak Hariri. “A garden is a universal attraction that will humanize this space with its vibrant colours and beautiful fragrances, adding a sweetness to the Museum experience.”

The project will revitalize and create green public space in the centre of Toronto, fostering greater sense of community. In addition, the scheme will include totemic information sentinels, and a new canopy over the Main Entrance. The biodiversity gardens will appear in episodic moments along the promenade, featuring all-season planting to ensure diversity throughout the year. The new performance space creates not only a meeting place, but programming opportunities that engage the community.

Preliminary work on the rest of the Welcome Project, which will include the new lobby experience to welcome and guide visitors through the ROM, will begin shortly.

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