What Gehry did to the AGO
August 14-16, 2009

This is a composite of two visits and about of quarter of the pictures I took. Logically, if you approach from Chinatown this  is your first look  and you know it's strange and wonderful.  This is the main side; there are lots of pictures of this amazing structure  on the Web, and I only got a couple. Inside, the first thing you see in the atrium is this amazing, um, Victorian-cum-Arabian   Nights-cum-prairie Native teepee. It was even better inside (chandelier, velvet hanging, video projections on the floor), but you're not supposed to photograph the exhibitions (which would be way worth it), but just the architectural spaces.  So I did. Past the teepee is this.  wonderful  warm  spiral  staircase  that's like being inside a conch shell.  Can't convey it. On the back (the stairway you can see in those first pictures) is another  stairway, through which you can see what you shouldn't  do if you're a world-class architect. Does make a strangely effective picture, though, eh? and then around the inside is one of the half-dozen greatest architectural spaces  I've ever been in, which is inside that  amazing facade. I couldn't resist photographing, though, a moment  of cheating (those huge beams actually don't carry through the end wall, and in fact aren't actually structural (there are metal members inside them).

But we went twice in one weekend, and I can't imagine spending any time in Toronto without going again -- not just because it's a wonderful space; the exhibits are as challenging and interesting as any I've seen, including the ones in the ICA in Boston.

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