A place for all – outdoor additions to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum bring relaxation and inclusivity

Civic and educational institutions are always looking for new ways to engage with visitors and this Canadian institution is no exception. The Royal Ontario Museum’s new Performance Terrace and the Reed Family Plaza spaces creates a welcoming place to sit, relax, and enjoy outdoor performances

Photography by: Hariri Pontarini Architects

Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects

From the architects:

The opening of the new outdoor spaces is part of the ROM’s larger strategic vision to create an engaging streetscape and greater access, while enhancing the ROM’s role as a cultural and community anchor. 

“Building community, ensuring accessibility, and playing a meaningful role in people’s lives are key elements of our enduring success,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “The opening of these spaces not only enhances the pedestrian experience along Bloor Street, it also provides new ways to deepen the ROM’s connection with our community and participate in the urban life of the city.

And the architect Siamak Hairri of Hariri Pontarini echoes this sentiment:

“For me, this project is all about welcome – the realisation of the possibilities and rich opportunities of the public realm as it extends not only forward along Bloor Street but also to the west with its connection to Philosopher’s Walk. A space that creates a warm and open connection between the ROM and the city,” says Hariri.

The Bloor Street exterior has been reimagined and transformed into 1263m² of outdoor public space, anchored by landscaping and architectural design.


The Reed Family Plaza connects people and provides architecture, building, daylighting, mixed-use, pavilion, roof, tree, white
The Reed Family Plaza connects people and provides a place of reverie.

Set back from the street on an elevated platform, the Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace is surrounded by the greenery of the existing Philosopher's Walk, the striking contemporary architecture of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, and the softly textured stone walls of the ROM's heritage façade.

The soft Algonquin limestone of the terrace and the gently curved edges of the benches surrounding planting beds lush with trees and biodiverse gardens, provide much needed public gathering and seating space in the heart of the city.

The green space, designed by Ronald Holbrook & Associates, will feature a seasonal palette of native, perennial plant species that reflect the ROM’s biodiversity mandate.

The Reed Family Plaza connects with nature and architecture, building, city, commercial building, condominium, downtown, human settlement, metropolitan area, mixed-use, pedestrian, plaza, public space, real estate, residential area, tower block, urban area, urban design, white
The Reed Family Plaza connects with nature and offers an ideal space for al fresco performances.

“Like one of its alluring galleries, the ROM’s new terrace and plaza is a space that people will want to experience,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

“Sitting outside in a beautiful place is one of summer’s greatest pleasures, and with exciting cultural offerings on the menu, the ROM is giving both locals and tourists another reason to visit this impressive Ontario attraction.”

The initiative marks the final phase of the ROM’s Welcome Project, which also includes the reopening of the heritage Weston Entrance on Queen’s Park and complimentary access to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture.

Sep 18, 2019

Credit list

Project
Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace and Reed Family Plaza
Architecture team
Lead Design Architect: Siamak Hariri, Partner-In-Charge; Project Architect: Patrick Cox; Job Captain: Miren Etxezarreta-Aranburu
Mechanical and electrical consultants
WSP Canada
Tree selection
The Planning Partnership
Signage and wayfinding
Entro
Architect
Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA)
Structural consultants
Thornton Tomasetti
Planting plan
Holbrook + Associates
Code consultants
LRI Engineering
Construction management
Gillam Group
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