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Library-Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

An extrusion based façade, along with interior elements, adds a dramatic contrast in this addition to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum.

The addition, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, is named for both the donor and its crystalline shape. Architect Daniel Libeskind, selected after an international search, was inspired by the Royal Ontario Museum's gem and mineral collection. He sketched his initial concept of paper napkins while attending a family wedding at the museum. The addition is comprised of five interlocking, self-supporting structures that coexist with the 100+ year original museum building, though are not attached except for bridges that link them.

When built, the Lee-Chin Crystal was considered one of the most challenging construction projects in North America for its engineering complexity and innovative methods. Over 18 miles of aluminum extrusions — 90,000 square feet — were used in the structure, which contains one vertical wall and no right angles. The building's exterior is 75% aluminum, and 25% glass. The extruded brushed silver aluminum cladding is the outermost of three layers, and the extrusions are positioned with gaps in between to channel water and snow runoff away from the patrons below. The addition opened in 2007.


To learn more about aluminum extrusion applications & performance in building & construction, and to earn continuing education credits while you do so, visit AEC Daily, the largest provider of free on-line continuing education to construction professionals. The Aluminum Extrusion Council's new extrusion course is approved for credit by AIA, the US Green Building Council, NAHB, NARI and over 10 other construction-related organizations.