ROM Welcome Project
Hariri Pontarini Architects

ROM Welcome Project

Hariri Pontarini Architects as Architects

The ROM’s new Bloor Street Terrace and Plaza, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, revealed. 

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by donors, board members and executives, the ROM marked the opening of the new Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace and the Reed Family Plaza. The spaces, designed by Siamak Hariri of Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA) create a lively streetscape around the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal entrance providing a welcoming place to sit, relax, and enjoy outdoor performance programming.


“For me, this project is all about welcome – the realization 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. 


A Sentiment that was echoed by the ROM’s Director and CEO, Josh Basseches, who hopes this project will further the museum’s “commitment to being a place for all.”


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 terrace, elevated off of Bloor street and nestled beneath the west side of the Crystal, provides a sheltered area for outdoor performances and connects to the greenery of Philosopher’s Walk. 


Upon arrival at the ceremony, just prior to the 10:00 am opening of the ROM, visitors waited comfortably nestled on the benches of the planters under the soft shading of the trees, enjoying the warm summer morning – the space functioning exactly as it was envisioned. 


This marks the third and final phase of the ROM’s Welcome project that included the reopening of the heritage Weston Family Entrance on Queen’s Park in 2017, also designed by HPA, and free access to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery in 2018.  

ROM Welcome Project

Entro as Consultants

With the recent completion of the Reed Family Plaza and the Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace, the ROM is presenting a whole new public face to Bloor Street. This latest initiative – part of a larger, multi-phase Welcome Project – has succeeded in softening the abrupt angularity of Daniel Libeskind’s Crystal with the artistic integration of greenery, planters, walkways, gathering spaces, and seating areas.

 

Entro worked closely with the ROM and project architects Hariri Pontarini in the design of the site signage. For the donor and identity signage, we selected classic materials such as bronze and stone to match the patina of the architectural fixtures, and for their quality, longevity, and connection to nature – attributes that reflect the essence of the ROM itself. The bronze materials also provide continuity from the Weston Family donor signage which we designed for the Queens Park entrance.

 

We conducted a number of colour studies for the wayfinding signage designs to inform our choice of tonality, level of contrast, and type size, and to subtly differentiate between languages in the bilingual messaging using colour.

 

The team’s combined efforts culminated in a warm and welcoming streetscape that invites people to enjoy a performance, meet up and talk to one another, or just sit and look around. The rawness of the Crystal is looking more finished as it nestles into the gardens and begins to converse with the original Beaux-Arts building.

 

We are honoured to be part of this meaningful revitalization, which has put the ROM back in the spotlight as a cultural hub and gathering space full of diverse programming.

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