Page 1 of 32 1234511 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 100 of 3170

Thread: New Royal Alberta Museum | Under Construction

  1. #1
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Where ever Visa is accepted
    Posts
    4,402

    Default New Royal Alberta Museum | Under Construction

    Shawn Ohler
    The Edmonton Journal

    Friday, November 17, 2006



    EDMONTON - In 2011, the Royal Alberta Museum will open a new $200-million wing that slopes from 102nd Avenue to the river valley bank, featuring panoramic views, new galleries and a jutting, modern design that contrasts purposely with the adjacent 93-year-old Government House.

    The Journal has obtained the museum's detailed expansion plans, which have seen recent and extensive changes prompted by Alberta's unprecedented boom-fuelled rise in construction costs.

    In 2005, the museum, flush with $150 million in provincial cash and $30 million in federal money, announced it would build a new wing plus completely overhaul the low-slung, stone-clad existing building, which opened in 1967.

    But though Community Development Minister Denis Ducharme is expected today to announce a provincial funding boost to $170 million, the museum can only afford to build a new 250,000-sq.-ft. wing.

    To build the entire project now would likely cost $400 million, said Dr. Bruce McGillivray, the museum's director.

    "The government has made the only decision it could have. The cost of doing this all at once is prohibitive," he said.

    He added the full plan would double the current cost "and that could have engendered tremendous criticism. There are all these school roofs, all these hospitals, all these interchanges to build."

    The museum sits west of the Groat Ravine, and the long and narrow new wing descends from Glenora's urban setting to the riverbank's edge.

    Its new galleries will focus on Alberta's ancient past, archeology, history and the Southesk Collection of aboriginal artifacts. A children's museum is planned and the existing building's Wild Alberta and aboriginal galleries will be updated. The museum will also build an underground parking lot with 300 spaces, eliminating most of the 200 surface spots on the site.

    The museum's complete expansion plan, conceived by Edmonton architects Cohos Evamy and Toronto's Lundholm Associates Architects, calls for a striking new entrance on 102nd Avenue and a total redesign of the old building, including a continuation of the signature fractured roof. Most dramatically, a glassed central hall is planned to allow views from the avenue through to Government House.

    Those elements may never be built, but McGillivray still salutes the province.

    "The government could have said: 'There's not enough money to do this right all at once, so let's not even try. Let's just renovate the existing building.'

    "They would have sealed the future of the museum in a much smaller box and not given us this potential. They're going to get criticized, but I applaud them for not capping it."

    [email protected]
    © The Edmonton Journal 2006




    Copyright © 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
    I'm having people over later to stare at their phones,if you want to drop by

  2. #2

  3. #3

    Default

    Pathetic design. Just plain pathetic. At least I didn't get my hopes up; the architects should be run out of town.

  4. #4
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Edmonton Downtown Core
    Posts
    4,327

    Default

    What a pathetic announcement. Something is not right with the spin of the article in the Edmonton Journal - you have the Museum Director being the Spin Master for the Government downplaying the little matter of what is now being called "Phase 2" and the Architect talking about "function" as being so important - and actual design getting fleeting comment. That tells me there was a actual planned strategy to put a positive spin on an adequately designed and funded building that is only to be HALF built. When you have the internal Government client (the Museum Director) taking centre stage instead of the Minister, and the Architect apologizing or downplaying the design effort and suggesting 1/2 glass is really a full glass - what do you really get? - Simply a cover-up for failure to do it right - and a glass that is 1/2 EMPTY! (not full). Government SHOULD fund the entire project now - and pump in the additional $200 NOW - so there are no pitiful excuses! What really pisses me off - is that Bruce McGillivray the Museum Director is attempting to shade the Government from criticism in not funding what is clearly required and Donna Clare is talking about function and not design. Good grief Donna, if we only wanted function - we should have hired engineers does "draw up" the plans. What is the point of hiring a "design" architect if form and architectural brilliance are not part of the design? And how dare the lot of you criticize the work of other designers to "soften the blow". What utter crap and unprofessional comments in your interviews. Even the Journal took part in this!

    Ralph - if you’re reading this - save us from this blunder please! Step up, build the entire project now - and let’s not have a half assed project constructed from the get go.

  5. #5
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    Whoa, whoa, whoa.....

    I'm glad they're not going to touch the original building. It's fantastic...they should keep Cohos' mits off of it. Building a new entrance on 102 would *completely* destroy the effect of the existing entrance foyer.

    As for the design, well, I can't see much in that picture but I can't say I'm wowed or anything.

    Also, hearing from the museum director, who actually KNOWS a thing or two about museum studies, is more meaningful than listening to hollow blah blah from a minister.

  6. #6
    C2E Continued Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Summerside
    Posts
    1,577

    Default

    Looking a the small photo's in the journal I can only say that it is an aweful design. Maybe they were trying to make the design look dated and boring because it is a museum. Come on these guys should be showcasing, not doing a subpar piece of s***.

  7. #7
    highlander
    Guest

    Default

    I agree with Myles. I like the old building, and the new entrance they show looks awful.

    I'm also not wowed, but I think that if materials are up to the original building's standards it might be prettygood. On the otherhand, if there is any cheaping out, ie splitface block instread of stone, then I think I'll Cry.

  8. #8

    Default

    From what I see the design looks like a cheap Daniel Libeskind knock off.

  9. #9
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    252

    Default

    How sad for Alberta

  10. #10
    C2E Posting Power
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    833

    Default

    Personally, I like the design of the proposed addition to the museum. It has some similarity to the new De Jong museum in San Francisco. Modern but not to bold, lots of south and east glass/windows, fantastic views of the river valley. The experts also claim it will be functional ( which is important). Remember folks this is a museum, not an art gallery.

  11. #11
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Downtown Edmonton
    Posts
    43,992

    Default

    i need more pics, but i dont hate it...
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ridgeman
    Remember folks this is a museum, not an art gallery.
    "Edmonton: we're really good at making excuses for mediocrity".

    There are countless museums that would give the best art galleries in the world a run for their money. Try again.

  13. #13

    Default

    Function is important. However, I'm told you can have form and function.

  14. #14
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default











    Onward and upward

  15. #15

    Default

    I don't think it looks as bad as some of the posts so far make it out to be. Maybe if the architects included something bold in the design, something edgy, like say a pyramid, some people would be more receptive to it.

  16. #16

    Default

    Its tough to tell but I think the new part looks fine. Not sure about the renovations to the original building though.

    Dave - I don't think you're giving people on here enough credit. No one wants bold for the sake of bold. Rather, I'd like to see good, or hell why not even great, architecture. That doesn't mean another Bilbao but have a look at some of Foster's or Hadid's stuff. Very contemporary, good/great architecture but generally rather minimal as opposed to outlandish.

  17. #17
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    EDMONTON - As he contemplated how to spend $200 million on the Royal Alberta Museum, director Bruce McGillivray knew precisely what he didn't want from the expansion's architecture.

    He often recalled an episode of The Simpsons, in which Canadian architect Frank Gehry is lampooned for his constant use of disjointed titanium sculpture. Gehry's project for The Simpsons' hometown of Springfield, memorably, is inspired by a piece of balled-up trash.

    "The last thing we wanted was a crumpled-up napkin and, boom, you've got a museum that later becomes a prison," McGillivray laughs.

    The winning bid for the RAM's redesign came from Edmonton architects Cohos Evamy and Toronto museum veterans Lundholm Associates Architects. McGillivray loved that their plan -- a bold, transparent work with a fractured, dramatic roof form that extends from the river valley to 102nd Avenue -- combines modern and traditional elements and links the urban environment to the natural. If the city of Edmonton consents, visitors could stroll through the museum's manicured grounds and down the terraced riverbank to a water taxi dock that will link the institution with Louise McKinney Park.

    He also liked that the design wasn't ostentatious.

    "Alberta's a funny place, isn't it, in terms of reactions to these things? This is not an environment where what's seen as cosmetic, wasteful spending is going to be expected. Even with the wealth of the province, people are still fiscally conservative. We felt that an ostentatious exterior design would give the impression, rightly or wrongly, that we were wasting taxpayer dollars."

    Though her design might not immediately carry Gehry's pop-culture cachet -- his titanium-clad Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain is among the world's most familiar cultural landmarks -- Cohos Evamy partner Donna Clare said she has huge aspirations for it.

    "I'd like it to stand in a select group of museums, and for people to talk about it in 10 and 15 and 25 years as a museum that works on every level -- as a museum, as a piece of architecture and a wonderful urban garden," said Clare, who designed the Winspear Centre and the Shaw Conference Centre's Hall D.

    "In many ways, the discussion of architecture has been perverted. It's about fashion statements. I don't want to ever create a building that looks good the day it opens but five years later the client comes to me and says it doesn't work. Then I've failed. Do I want people to be inspired by the architecture? Yeah, I do. But I want it to be grounded in a sense of place."

    To Clare, that place is defined by Alberta's sweeping sky, its rivers and valleys, and its juxtaposition of human and natural history. The new wing of the museum, with its imagined built "ravine" and views of both the valley and Government House, will evoke all those elements, Clare said.

    Toronto architect Michael Lundholm, one of Clare's colleagues on the project, said the new RAM will be known not just for its bold form, but for the thoughtful way it integrates the museum's purpose with its dramatic riverside site.

    He said "signature" buildings, such as the new $200-million-plus "crystal" addition to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, are often considered failures as working institutions.

    "Of the current crop of sensational museums, many of them will be judged negatively in time. They will be dated, they will be seen to have worked on fairly superficial characteristics and to have failed to really do what's necessary to help a museum achieve its excellence," Lundholm said.

    "Sensational architecture which does not sustain the excellence of the institution is bound to lose its value. The ROM is one of the worst attempts."

    [email protected]nal.canwest.com

    TIMETABLE

    The proposed construction timeline for the expansion of the Royal Alberta Museum:

    - APR. 1, 2007: Construction on the new $200-million, 250,000-sq.-ft. wing begins, if RAM can secure permits and an available builder. Archives on west side of property is demolished. Underground parkade is built. Museum closes for 18 months.

    - CHRISTMAS 2008: Existing wing of museum reopens, with upgrades to Wild Alberta and the aboriginal culture gallery.

    - END OF 2010: Construction of new wing is finished.

    - 2011: After a period of gallery installation, new expansion opens.

    - ????: The government has made no commitment to transform the existing museum building. The price tag for that phase, in today's dollars, is about $200 million as well.

  18. #18
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    EDMONTON - After three years of planning, project delays and construction costs sent spiralling by Alberta's building boom, the future of the Royal Alberta Museum remains only half-known.

    The Journal has obtained plans showing the museum will build a $200-million, 250,000-sq.-ft. addition on its property's western edge, but the Alberta government has made no commitment to build a future phase to transform the existing 40-year-old building. That could cost another $200 million.

    Alberta's biggest cultural institution could one day be a coherent architectural landmark, or it could be regarded as a muddled project burdened with unrealized potential.

    "That's up to the politicians," said Bruce McGillivray, the museum's director. "The architects will say that (the expansion) can't be appreciated until you've done the whole thing. It'll look like it's half-done. And I'm sure people will jump on the bandwagon saying this is an abomination, and they'll be judging it based on half. That's not fair, but (the architects have) accepted that reality. And I accept it, too."

    Cohos Evamy partner Donna Clare, the museum's lead design architect, said she's optimistic that if the expansion's first phase is "provocative and exciting and the museum grows in its importance and becomes a destination, the programs and visitorship will demand that the rest be completed. Its success will lead to the second phase."

    One of her collaborators, Toronto's Michael Lundholm, is more circumspect.

    "We were directed to take care of the collection, to create a coherent visitor experience and create better working conditions for staff. We will have only partly achieved those objectives, so I am concerned that we could get stuck at the end of phase one, and be left with an incomplete and possibly a bit confused scenario."

    McGillivray acknowledges Alberta's government, with its projected $5.4-billion surplus, might draw criticism for splitting the expansion into phases. But he said another government option -- spending the $200 million solely on renovations to the existing building -- would have been much less desirable.

    "Our province is putting more into this museum project than any province has put into any museum project in the history of the country," he said.

    "One-hundred-seventy million? Ontario isn't putting that into the (Royal Ontario Museum expansion) or the Art Gallery of Ontario. Manitoba isn't putting that into the Human Rights Museum. It's not even close.

    "Even though at times we choose to bash the government and say, 'Why aren't you putting more into the arts and culture and heritage,' they can rightly point to our museum and say, 'Look at this.' "

    [email protected]

  19. #19
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    I suggest everyone pick up a Journal to get some better photos. I have one in front of me right now.

    Some more general comments from myself:

    1. The expansion looks interesting but I *really* can't tell how good/bad it is from the limited photos. One quote in the article on page A3 got me: "We felt that an ostentatious exterior design would give the impression, rightly or wrongly, that we were wasting taxpayer dollars."

    It also mentions that this is the "winning" bid. What, pray tell, were the other bids?

    2. The interaction with 102nd Ave is nice, but I would be completely opposed to anything that destroys the integrity and beauty of the original building. For example:



    And I will personally destroy anyone who even dares suggest that this be removed:



    This plan utterly lacks the understanding of what the original building was meant to do. I'm going to have to go to the Legislature Library next week and pull some documents from the museum's opening.

    I like the idea of an expansion. Heck, even if this were the plan, fine....but LAY OFF the original building. It is an absolute gem of 1960s architecture.

    What's with this idiotic comment that it would result in a "muddled project"? Take a look at the British Museum which redid the interior courtyard. Strangely enough, it works!

  20. #20
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    7,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    i need more pics, but i dont hate it...
    I'm with you here.

    I think most of the forumers responses has to do with its association of a certain architectural firm versus the design.

  21. #21

    Default

    ^Ha. I was just on foster's website looking at that. It's striking.

  22. #22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mick
    Its tough to tell but I think the new part looks fine. Not sure about the renovations to the original building though.

    Dave - I don't think you're giving people on here enough credit. No one wants bold for the sake of bold. Rather, I'd like to see good, or hell why not even great, architecture. That doesn't mean another Bilbao but have a look at some of Foster's or Hadid's stuff. Very contemporary, good/great architecture but generally rather minimal as opposed to outlandish.
    Couldn't agree more.

    There really isn't much to go on from the pictures but I don't understand why this isn't seen as a good design. The imagined "ravine" for example looks quite interesting.

  23. #23
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Re: Museum design

    For a $200 new building, I have to say I'm underwhelmed. Although I appreciate some ladscaping decisions (connection to the rivervallery / no surface parking etc.) I'm worried this is the best it will ever look. I think there's a reason that the rivervalley rendering is a night - If you imagine it during the day, it starts to resemble another project...

    Like Edmtrekker, I really take issue with how the director is selling the project. How can he criticize Daniel Libeskind's architecture (the ROM addition) when THERE IS NO WAY THIS MUSEUM WOULD LOOK THE WAY IT DOES WITHOUT HIS INFLUENCE. I mean, zig-zag shard slicing through the existing building? c'mon, wise-up! He doesn't think that the shard over 102Ave is "ostentatious" or "superficial"? I think he's trying to respond to the negative comparisons to the Art Gallery's process.

    Personally, I really don't mind if they don't tough the old building. A subtle renovation which preserves the building's character might be preferable to gutting it.

    I've included some misc. pictures from the architecture's shamefully sensational past. Now we know better than to follow their example:

    A watered-down Libeskind proposal for the WTC:

    Toyo Ito's beautiful (and very original) serpentine pavilion:[img][/img]

  24. #24
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    252

    Default

    What is sad about the comments in the paper is that they were more of an apology; rather than a confident statement as to why the architecture is a benefit to Alberta.

    Trying to find problems with great buildings such as the Guggenheim Bilbao and the ROM expansion, to justify your own work, is not the way to win public approval.

    I would be happier if the debate was between several grand architectural visions rather than trying to justify butchery of a great piece of 60’s architecture.

    As the proponents stated in their own words, "Our province is putting more into this museum project than any province has put into any museum project in the history of the country," . So what is the excuse for this mess?

    As an Albertan I deserve something of the caliber of the Museum of Civilization, the Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Human Rights or the Canadian War Museum.

  25. #25
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Edmonton Downtown Core
    Posts
    4,327

    Default Government Alberta Press Release on Museum

    What tripe is this: "Canada's New Government is proud to join in the celebration of the renewal and expansion of the Royal Alberta Museum," said Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre on behalf of the Honourable Carol Skelton, Minister of National Revenue and Western Economic Diversification. "Renewing the Royal Alberta Museum is one way we're helping create a lasting legacy for all Canadians and visitors to enjoy today and for generations to come." What the hell is "NEW" Government??? What dribble to put in a Government of Alberta Press Release. Is Mr. Hawn desperate for media attention - after all the "OLD" Government of Canada abnnounced the actual funding!!!!!!! What - when the Conservatives fall - will we refer to them as the "OLD" Government?? Government is Government. Do you people employ professional and literate staff?

    Last Comment: The Royal Alberta Museum looks like it is being 1/2 built - don't presume the public is to stupid to see the Province has failed to develop ALL of it into a World Class Museum. The plan announced is NOT World Class as is. Design AND function! The "NEW" Conservative Government under Ralph Klien has failed this test. I think the "OLD" Social Credit Government would have funded ALL of the Project.

  26. #26

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BDavidson
    As an Albertan I deserve something of the caliber of the Museum of Civilization, the Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Human Rights or the Canadian War Museum.
    You know what? I agree with this. Originally I had thought it wasn't that bad.

    It's not "bad", but it's not world-class either. You've got to remember this is Albertas PROVINCIAL museum.

    If Alberta is one of the top 15 RICHEST places in the world, one would only assume that the province would be sparing no cost as to the development of it's international museum.

    This looks no different than your modern day Save-On-Foods store..



    Design Competition? Perhaps.. but will it matter?

    Big fancy world class cities build buildings of same. Looks like Edmonton is just aiming for mediocrity to please it's own citizens... not the world.

    Looks like we STILL want tourists to visit the mall!!





    ????

  27. #27
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    Wow!

    That's hillarious. Maybe that means the cafe in the museum wouldn't suck so much...

  28. #28
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    Woah, dude. Breath.

    First, a link to the news release would be appreciated. Here it is:

    http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200611/2082...ABDF02650.html

    Second, Hawn would be referring to the new FEDERAL government, which is chipping in $30 million through the Western Diversification Fund. It is a new government considering before were over 10 years of Liberal government. Government is not simply government.

    This isn't desperation for attention at all. It's a LOCAL representative commenting on behalf of the Feds who are commiting money to the project. This is no different than any other government new release.

    Chill...breath....have a cookie.

  29. #29
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin_Foster
    You know what? I agree with this. Originally I had thought it wasn't that bad.

    It's not "bad", but it's not world-class either. You've got to remember this is Albertas PROVINCIAL museum.

    If Alberta is one of the top 15 RICHEST places in the world, one would only assume that the province would be sparing no cost as to the development of it's international museum.

    This looks no different than your modern day Save-On-Foods store..



    Design Competition? Perhaps.. but will it matter?

    Big fancy world class cities build buildings of same. Looks like Edmonton is just aiming for mediocrity to please it's own citizens... not the world.

    Looks like we STILL want tourists to visit the mall!!
    Don't forget that this is the Klein government who funded this, the city itself is not to blame.
    I'd bet that if RAM was in Calgary then there would be more $$$ invested in a more world-class facility.

  30. #30

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin_Foster
    You know what? I agree with this. Originally I had thought it wasn't that bad.

    It's not "bad", but it's not world-class either. You've got to remember this is Albertas PROVINCIAL museum.

    If Alberta is one of the top 15 RICHEST places in the world, one would only assume that the province would be sparing no cost as to the development of it's international museum.

    This looks no different than your modern day Save-On-Foods store..



    Design Competition? Perhaps.. but will it matter?

    Big fancy world class cities build buildings of same. Looks like Edmonton is just aiming for mediocrity to please it's own citizens... not the world.

    Looks like we STILL want tourists to visit the mall!!
    Don't forget that this is the Klein government who funded this, the city itself is not to blame.
    I'd bet that if RAM was in Calgary then there would be more $$$ invested in a more world-class facility.
    Right, sorry when I said "Edmonton" I really meant Edmonton in General - not the council or people. Just... "Edmonton".

    It's it's own organism I suppose

  31. #31
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Does anybody else think that from the river valley this looks a lot like Hall D? Imagine it during the day.

  32. #32
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    96

    Default

    I am going to try to wait an see what the models look like before I pass judgement...but my first impression is that it looks like an airport not a museum

  33. #33
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin_Foster
    Right, sorry when I said "Edmonton" I really meant Edmonton in General - not the council or people. Just... "Edmonton".

    It's it's own organism I suppose
    Well, if you want to narrow it down to specific Edmontonians, how about RAM's Dr. McGillivray and Donna Clare of Coho Evamy. Reading the Journal articles, you get the sense that they embrace mediocrity because of a fear that some fiscal conservative in the Calgary provincial government will yank the project altogether and give the money to the Glenbow. But as others have said, I want to see an actual model first before I judge further.

  34. #34
    C2E SME
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    10,562

    Default

    I have one question for the critics of the design of the museum, what architectural style do you like? Other than saying the design be more progressive what do you expect to see. Here are 2 of the most famous museums in the world. Which style do you prefer?

    The Louvre in Paris


    The Guggenheim in Bilbao


    Both of these museums are world renown. Is either better? Both are different architectural styles.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

  35. #35
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    252

    Default

    I tend not to like any "style". Style is applied, rather than an inherent part of the design.

    The two examples above are great examples of a design response to context, trends, showmanship, technology, budget, and a whole bunch of other factors.

    The current proposed museum is a watered down and muddied attempt at responding to all the factors that influence architecture.

    By being "practical" it loses its potential significance and the design is forced to artificially apply features to give it significance. The same way a Save-On-Foods has a big sign to signify its presence and break up its boxy shape; the museum uses an artificial jutting canopy and irregular shape to hide its shortcomings.

    The Louvre addition above is a good example of contrasting new with old. It does it in a dramatic way that leaves no doubt as to what is old and what is new. The proposed provincial addition swallows the old building through mass and choppy angles. The Louvre addition defers dominance to the preexisting building by creating a balance between the two parts. The Alberta Museum addition steals dominance from the original structure which is by itself, a well balanced and refined structure.

    I think there should be an international competition for this project. I could only imagine the quality of proposals we would see. It might even end up costing less.

  36. #36
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    142

    Default

    If I had to choose between the 2 above I'd pick the the Louvre, but it would be better with something other than I.M. Pei's pyramid stuck in the middle of it. There's actually an upside down pyramid there too. Its a better [less obvious] addition than the one in the pic. But eh... you get used to whats there. Thats what Covert Infamy relies on... that we'll get used to their stuff. They don't create buildings that on their own are all that offensive [just blah], but when you put all of them in a row you see that they're doing a lot of the same things over and over again with a few modifications.

    Of course the same can be said of famous architects like Gehry [the Bilbao guy] and Libeskind, who was refered to a few times on the first page of this thread. As far as those 2 go, Gehry wins hands down. The geometric paradises Libeskind envisions are faddish monstrosities that we could easily see replaced within our lifetimes. For more on that read this post http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...pic.php?t=1233 [its the one with all the pix]

    For some reason I went to a presentation by architect Lawrence Scarpa in the summer at Grant MacEwan. Amongst other things, he said "architects are lazy". I was surprised to hear an architect say that, but I agreed completely. Its a while ago now, but I think basically his point was that most architects rely too heavily on engineers for the basis of the design and then come along and dress it up a bit, or a lot, depending on the projects budget

    In the case of the famous guys, I'd guess the engineers have to work around their designs but still they dont really change their molds much from project to project

    It would be cool if you could detach an architect from everything except the project they're working on. No engineers report. No contemporary outside influences, and wipe their memory of the last job... HA Then see what they come up with. I suspect Covert Infamy wouldn't know where to start. Or who knows, maybe they'd actually come up with something original.

    Original.... hmmm, I think it was Myles who was questioning whether or not there was actually a design competition for this project. I don't remember it either. But the funny thing is any big architecture firm should be able to whip up a few pix and a model for a design competition. That's what it looks like we have here. The only entrant, and the de facto winner

    Anyway, this is the plan they're promoting now. I saw the report about it on CFRN news. They only interviewed one person. Or thats all they showed anyway. She liked the plans [alot]. I guess she was able to view the models and pictures. I'd called the RAM earlier in the day, they said that stuff wouldn't be available for public display til Nov. 23, but who knows.

    To me, going by the wee lil pix available it looks pretty bland and inoffensive. I guess that's ok for us rednecks? What I'm wondering about is why they took so long to announce this. I was under the impression they were waiting till there was a new premier in office, but apparently not. So it took them a year and half to come up with this plan. Notice that half the pix they provide are of renos to the old part of the RAM. A reno which they say isn't even going to be done until phase 2 [which may never happen]. Except that the whole facility is to be closed for 18 months. What the...? They're going to close up the old RAM. do a bit of reno's in there for maybe $15-20 mil, with the idea that a few years later they'll close it up again and spend another $200 mil on some other brilliant plans involving stuffed geese and big arrowhead shooting out over 102 Ave. Something seems fishy about this to me.

    I think I'm going to start working on an alternative plan for the RAM. Ya, I know it's a waste of time, but I have another crazy idea in my head. Way crazier than that bus to the airport thing

    So Dream Big starts tomorrow Mall D, whens the grande finale of that scheduled for?

  37. #37
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Edmonton Downtown Core
    Posts
    4,327

    Default

    Myles - you sound like some "NEW: want to be political flak for the "new" Federal Government...have I got that right??

  38. #38
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    No, and I don't appreciate the personal attack.

    I'm merely pointing out *why* what was said was said instead of launching into a breathless rant that maybe should have waited until one read the press release a few times.

  39. #39
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    Paula Simons column

    Museum expansion must be built the way it's envisioned
    Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: Saturday, November 18, 2006

    It wasn't easy to hear the dignitaries making their speeches at the museum Friday morning. They were almost drowned out by the hundreds of noisy preschoolers, frolicking in the Bob the Builder exhibit right next door.

    Bob, for those of you without young kids, is the hero of the popular TV show called -- yes -- Bob the Builder.

    Bob's upbeat mantra is simple: "Can we build it? Yes we can!"

    nd that's the motto we need to adopt if we want to create a truly spectacular Royal Alberta Museum.

    We can build it -- but only if our whole community pulls together to get the job done right.

    Friday, architects Donna Clare and Michael Lundholm unveiled their vision for a new and improved RAM.

    The first phase of their plan is quietly impressive -- a 250,000 square-foot, three-level terraced addition, built on the site of the existing surface parking lot, a glass atrium cut down into the earth like a man-made ravine. The new wing would flow down the western end of the museum property, right to the dramatic brink of the river bank.

    Inside would be a new children's museum, designed for the youngest guests, as well as new galleries celebrating Alberta's natural and social history.

    We'd get an Ancient Alberta gallery of dinosaurs and wooly mammoths; an archeology gallery with a hands-on dig pit, where we could climb in and learn about the science and practice of archeological excavation; an Alberta history gallery to explore our pioneer past, and a special new gallery to display the museum's newly acquired Southesk Collection of aboriginal and Metis artifacts.

    The plan also includes a new 300-stall underground parkade.

    It all sounds great -- an arresting piece of architecture, that will not only be a great cultural and scientific resource for our entire province, but a major tourist attraction and an engine of urban renewal for Oliver and 124th Street.

    There's just one problem.

    The plan's $200-million budget -- $170 million from the province, $30 million from Ottawa -- only pays for the new wing. What was once an ample budget has been eroded by inflationary construction costs.

    The museum needs another $200 million to retrofit the existing building, to include a new theatre, a new state-of-the-art exhibition hall for blockbuster touring shows and a new entrance so that the museum would face, more logically, onto 102nd Avenue, instead of turning its back on passersby.

    The current $200-million budget will allow for some upgrades to the existing museum, including improvements to the Aboriginal and Wild Alberta galleries. But the RAM has only half the cash it needs to make its vision real.

    Clare says she's not disappointed the museum will be built in stages. In fact, she says, it makes more sense that way. If they had done the whole project at once, they would have needed to close the museum for years and put its 10 million exhibits and artifacts into storage.

    This way, the museum will only be closed to the public for 12 to 18 months, while the new parkade is built. And in those 12 to 18 months, museum staff will be intensely busy, planning, building and programming all the new exhibits to the new galleries.

    he problem isn't the phasing. It's the possible lag time between the phases. If 10 or 20 years go by before work starts on fixing up the existing building, we could end up with a half-baked museum. There will be no theatre. No space for the biggest and best touring exhibitions. No new aboriginal gallery. No entrance fronting on to 102nd Avenue.

    With all this potential, it's vital we not lose momentum. Although more provincial support for a new provincial museum is assuredly needed, it's time now for a major fundraising campaign.

    The RAM has always been shy to raise money from the corporate sector or private philanthropists. It is, after all, a creature of the department of community development, with access to public funding institutions like the Art Gallery of Alberta or Calgary's Glenbow Museum, can only envy. And RAM director Bruce McGillivray is loathe to appear greedy or ungrateful.

    I'm sure that he, like I, can already hear some of you screeching -- "A $400-million museum? What kind of elitist white elephant monument is that?"

    I know --$400 million sounds a jaw-dropping sum. But $200 million won't buy what it did five years ago. After decades of starving our poor little museum, we're finally building a flagship institution fit for Alberta's capital. Let's do it right.

    It's time for the RAM to stop playing bashful and start a major capital campaign. Yes, there are a lot of worthy projects and charities asking for money right now. But we're a province and a nation with immense private and corporate wealth. This isn't some piddling local project. It's a research and teaching resource for all Albertans. Built right, it will be one of Canada's finest museums. Any company that does business in Alberta should be proud to be associated with it.

    And so should all the rest of us.

    Can we build it? Yes we can. But only if government, the corporate sector and Albertans who value their past, and their future, act in concert. Let's do it. Let's give ourselves the museum we deserve.

    [email protected]

  40. #40
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    BTW, I disagree with Myles on one thing re: the current building. I want to see the front entrance moved so it's facing 102 Ave. It's ridiculous that one has to go 'round the back to get into the place.

  41. #41
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    BTW, I disagree with Myles on one thing re: the current building. I want to see the front entrance moved so it's facing 102 Ave. It's ridiculous that one has to go 'round the back to get into the place.
    Whoa, whoa....I actually never said that. I believe I did say that I like the interface at 102nd but I don't want it to come at the cost of destroying the current foyer for that see through vantage to Government house from the street

  42. #42

    Default

    When I was at hall D today, the museum team were again trumpeting the fact they had an international competition. This must have been conducted completely in private because I can find nothing indicating when it was, who entered, what the short list looked like, or what the other designs looked like. Having 100 firms submit that they are interested in doing the project along with their portfolio doesn't amount to a competition does it? If their truly was a competition, lets see the other proposals.

    The design is okay. I don't think anyone would argue it's great or unique or timeless. It's fine for Alberta and Edmonton. We shouldn't expect something truly exceptional.

    Oh, I think the Lourve and the guggenheim are both great. That reminds me they were also talking about not wanting the crumpled up napkin to people there. Please stop slagging off other people's work to pump up your own. I'd love for edmonton to have one, just one, piece of architecture in guggenheim Bilbao league.

  43. #43
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    I took a hard, long look at it today at the Shaw and I gotta saw I quite like it. I had a chance to have a long talk with the chief architect and as she talked about all the conceptual ideas, etc, etc I was very impressed.

    However, I am still *very* interested in seeing the floor plans which should be viewable at the exhibit that opens at the Museum here in a few weeks. I don't want to lose my 1960s entrance, hehe.

  44. #44
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    I too saw the model at the Shaw today.

    It looks better than what was initially indicated. It's not the Louvre or the British museum, but it's not horrible either. I would have liked to have seen some color in the model to get a better sense of what it will look like.

    What I like is the plan to move the trees in front of the RAM onto the middle of 102 Ave so that it isn't so obscured but still retain the greenery in the vicinity. There's also plans for large gardens from the RAM down to the riverbank, an outdoor bandstand, and a high-end restaurant to attract the Hotel Mac brunch crowd.

    Phase 2 should be funded asap.

    The only other worry is if they don't follow through on this plan. Further construction cost hikes could end up with an even more half-arsed result.

  45. #45
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    What I like is the plan to move the trees in front of the RAM onto the middle of 102 Ave so that it isn't so obscured but still retain the greenery in the vicinity.
    Yeah, I completely agree. With the banners, etc, in the middle of the road and what not it makes it really be known that you're entering a museum district.

  46. #46
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Strathearn, Edmonton
    Posts
    4,035

    Default

    I looked at the model today and the photos in the Journal dont do it justice...it IS a very nice project. It has great integration with the River Valley and is unique.
    I looked at it and can say that while Cohos has made mistakes in the past, this is certainly not one of them. This will be a great addition.

  47. #47

    Default

    How are kids supposed to toboggan down that hill with those switchback pathways there?

  48. #48
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Strathearn, Edmonton
    Posts
    4,035

    Default

    They can come over to my area and use Gallagher, it was busy today...but there was room for many more!

  49. #49
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Edmonton Downtown Core
    Posts
    4,327

    Default

    When I was at hall D today, the museum team were again trumpeting the fact they had an international competition. This must have been conducted completely in private because I can find nothing indicating when it was, who entered, what the short list looked like, or what the other designs looked like. Having 100 firms submit that they are interested in doing the project along with their portfolio doesn't amount to a competition does it? If their truly was a competition, lets see the other proposals.
    Is was NOT a competition at all - "they" solicited Proposals. The selection panel was made up of bureaucrats (including the good folks working at the Museum) and this is NOT a Jury. For anyone associated with RAM to suggest they picked the "best" firm on the basis of Proposal submissions would be a deliberate misrepresentation. RAIC have guidelines for a "competition" - and I can assure you the folks at Alberta Infarstructure and their Client : Culture did not have a competition. The last competition held using RAIC guidleines, including an independant Jury, and an external Consultant guiding the procurement process - was conducted by the University of Aklberta - when it held a competition for the replacement of the HUB Skylight - originally designed By Diamond Schmidt - which was 16 months ago.

  50. #50
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Strathearn, Edmonton
    Posts
    4,035

    Default

    Compeition or not, if you went and looked at the model, it is a VERY nice plan.
    The bad part is it is staged into 2 phases, with the 2nd phase funding not secured. The expansion itself, will be an excellent addition.

  51. #51
    C2E SME
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    10,562

    Default

    I'd like to say thankyou to everyone who gave their opinions on style and use of space, etc... I've seen individuals seemingly be very negative to some architectural designs and just say, "I don't like it, it sucks" and that is it. Now I expect that type of arguments from Calgary but here in town I enjoy seeing arguments with fact and reason behind them. (I'm glad I got my shot at cowtown for the day in already). Anyways thanks for your responses.

    Now back to the topic at hand, where is the model being displayed at and how long will it be there? I'm quite interested in seeing the overall look of it.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

  52. #52
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    It did look good overall. MylesC made a good point by asking for the floorplan...that'll give some style tips away.
    Onward and upward

  53. #53
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    7,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC
    I looked at the model today and the photos in the Journal dont do it justice...it IS a very nice project. It has great integration with the River Valley and is unique.
    I looked at it and can say that while Cohos has made mistakes in the past, this is certainly not one of them. This will be a great addition.
    I said the same thing dude. I totally agree.

  54. #54
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    252

    Default

    Yes it is a good project; it has a decent design and it shows competence.

    Unfortunately it is not a great project. We are only given a chance at a project of this scale every 50 years or so. Let’s do it as close to perfect as possible.

    I just remember the excitement over the AGA competition and the national recognition it brought our city. I don't feel this project is going to bring that level of interest.

  55. #55
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    No, it isn't generating near the buzz of the Alberta Art Gallery. At least, not in the media nor in the "commoners" world, like little old me.
    Onward and upward

  56. #56
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Well it looks like Cohos is making some new friends. Covert Converts I guess . I saw the model too and am no more impressed than I was in the days previous. Covert and city officials claimed that Hall D was the best they could do with $27mil, but in reality they didn't need a lot more money, just a lot better ideas. And now they're already pleading poverty with the museum and the project hasn't even begun. I can imagine the excuses they'll be making when the new RAM wing fails to be as impressive as promised. But then Edmonton is easily impressed, obviously, or Covert would have already been run out of town.

    They have a spectacular river front site to work with, and in the end thats what we'll have, a spectacular river front site with a "bold, jutting, transparent work with a fractured, dramatic roof" stuck in the middle of it. Big deal! On a site like that with $200 mil they could do so much more, but they lack the inspiration or the guts or something. I thought we wanted a signature piece af architecture. This is not it! I thought we wanted something that could put this city on the map. This won't do it! Murman... help!

  57. #57
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    7,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by uberurban
    Well it looks like Cohos is making some new friends. Covert Converts I guess . I saw the model too and am no more impressed than I was in the days previous. Covert and city officials claimed that Hall D was the best they could do with $27mil, but in reality they didn't need a lot more money, just a lot better ideas. And now they're already pleading poverty with the museum and the project hasn't even begun. I can imagine the excuses they'll be making when the new RAM wing fails to be as impressive as promised. But then Edmonton is easily impressed, obviously, or Covert would have already been run out of town.

    They have a spectacular river front site to work with, and in the end thats what we'll have, a spectacular river front site with a "bold, jutting, transparent work with a fractured, dramatic roof" stuck in the middle of it. Big deal! On a site like that with $200 mil they could do so much more, but they lack the inspiration or the guts or something. I thought we wanted a signature piece af architecture. This is not it! I thought we wanted something that could put this city on the map. This won't do it! Murman... help!
    I guess if your ideas are sooo good, why don't you submit your own proposal with a costing estimate to the province?

  58. #58

    Default

    I liked that it was obvious they put a lot of thought into how they would integrate it with the river valley and I think the terraced walk is an interesting solution. Other than the 'shard' over 102 St. the rest is fine. There's nothing wrong with fine.

    To those who saw the model: what are your thoughts on the new entrance of 102? Specifically, the 'shard' over the entrance looked a bit incongruent with the old structure. What did you think?

  59. #59
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    252

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisD
    I guess if your ideas are sooo good, why don't you submit your own proposal with a costing estimate to the province?
    If there was a new competition I certainly would.

  60. #60
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    City Of Champions
    Posts
    3,854

    Default

    I thought it was so-so until I saw the display at dream big. It's not perfect, but it's still pretty damn nice. The rendering from water level looking up the bank is a money shot.

  61. #61

    Default

    come on chris, you don't have to be an architect to criticize buildings. this and other sites wouldn't exist if that was the case. if you've looked at the plans and given it careful consideration i see no problems with stating a negative view.

    Question: From a functional and form perspective, who thinks this has the potential to be the best contemporarily designed museum in the city, province, and country when alls said and done?

  62. #62
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    I should also remind people that Coho didn't design this thing on their own. Lundholm Associates Architects is also involved, and they apparently specialize in museums and other cultural institutions. So they should share any praise or blame on the RAM.

    Perhaps the armchair architecture critics can play a couple of games here:
    1. What would the RAM look like if it was just a Coho design?
    2. Which aspects of the current design are Coho and which are Lundholm?

  63. #63
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles; Athens
    Posts
    4,399

    Default

    I believe Lundholm's role in the project is to act as exhibition designers, not architectural designers.

    They were probably brought on board as museum exhibits have very specific design concers, especially in the currently changing times. I could rant for a while since I gave a conference presentation on integrating technology in museum exhibits last year, but I digrss

  64. #64
    I'd rather C2E than work!
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    7,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mick
    come on chris, you don't have to be an architect to criticize buildings. this and other sites wouldn't exist if that was the case. if you've looked at the plans and given it careful consideration i see no problems with stating a negative view.

    Question: From a functional and form perspective, do you think this has the potential to be the best contemporarily designed museum in the city, province, and country when alls said and done?
    I am very, very aware of that and I have no problem with people stating their opinion.

    My issue is that this certain forumer continues to reference a certain firm associated with this project simply b/c it's an 'easy' target.

  65. #65

    Default

    Good point (although a certain Murman started a thread to stop that company's involvment altogther - edit: nothing wrong with that by the way. that's when you judge past performance). It's the same as those selling the new museum bringing down other projects to boost this one. Judge this work on its own merits.

    Is no one familiar enough with contemporary Canadian museums to venture an opinion on how this one fits in?

  66. #66
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    142

    Default

    I'm working on my idea right now. The more I delve into this, the more see how many of Coverts ideas on this project don't even actually work to achieve what they claim. I'll explain more about that when I finish with my plan. I took pix of the model yesterday, pix of the site today.

    Covert made themselves an easy target by designing a whole bunch of uninspired buildings all over this city. And now even with a big budget and a year and half to get their plan together, the best they can do is this. It's not crap. It's just ... whatever. We could do worse though..... ROM

    As far as other museum go. I've spoken about the monstrous [and likely temporary] addition to the Royal Ontario Museum previously. The Human Rights Museum proposed in Winnipeg looks better than that, partially because its an independant museum rather than a totally incongruous addition to the original like at the ROM

    Speaking of incongruous, yes the shard sticking out over 102 ave fits that description, but it goes so well with the various other shards on the new RAM

    I wouldn't mind dicussing this further tonight but I gotta hurry up on this RAM plan of mine

  67. #67

    Default

    From what I've seen (posted on this site) I like it. I'm also VERY glad that they aren't going to touch the stonework on the original - the original is a great looking building.

    I'm hoping infact that they'll integrate the old with the new through a continuing use of that stone - though the pictures make it look like it's drywall or stucco.

    I also really like the proposed front entryway - reminds me of the Catalano House (which according to the web site below is “one of the few buildings ever praised by Frank Lloyd Wright”).

    http://www.jetsetmodern.com/architecture.htm
    http://www.jetsetmodern.com/catalano.htm

    Maybe it's even a bit googie looking.
    http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/

    One thing I would fear is a repeat of what was done by the builder of the Jamie Platz addition - the sloping roof line in the design looked great and the final product looked instead like a construction error. (Triple Os in BC, the old IKEA building - naw a furniture store do a far better job with these rather rare roof profiles.)

  68. #68
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default Royal Alberta Museum | Expansion | Proposed

    Gov't feared backlash from costly makeover
    Expensive parkade blamed as first-class expansion project sent back to drawing board

    Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: Thursday, April 19, 2007

    The province's ambitious plans to renovate and expand the Royal Alberta Museum have been put on indefinite hold.

    On Wednesday, the Department of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture confirmed what those close to the museum project had feared for months.

    The province will not be increasing funding for the museum project to keep pace with Edmonton's rising construction costs. As a result, the project architects have been sent back to the drawing board, to come up with a more modest design that can be built within the existing $200-million budget.

    "We're not going to start construction right now. I'm not sure when it's going to happen," says Dan Huang, who speaks for the department. "The museum is not going to be shutting down for the summer. It's business as usual for now."

    The museum had been scheduled to close this July so work could begin on a new 300-stall underground parkade.

    Now, Huang says his department has decided the parkade is too expensive to build.

    "The museum is all about collections and exhibitions, and we want to spend more of the money on that than on parking."

    The current plan, he says, is to spend the summer finding ways to expand surface parking on the museum grounds.

    CONSTRUCTION COSTS ESCALATE

    The province had originally budgeted $170 million for the renovation. The federal government had provided an additional $30 million. But while $200 million seemed an extremely generous budget when it was first announced, Alberta's escalating building costs have put the fate of the project in peril.

    The problem isn't so much the loss of a parkade -- it's what the loss of that parkade might mean for the expansion plan.

    Five months ago, project architects Donna Clare and Michael Lundholm revealed plans for a 250,000-sq.-foot, three-level addition built where the existing surface parking lot sits. The plan's central feature was a dramatic glass atrium, cut down into the earth like a man-made ravine. The new wing was designed to flow down to the western edge of the museum grounds, to the edge of the river valley.

    It was a breathtaking design. But it was based on the assumption that the existing surface lot was a blank slate, atop which the architects could build their new wing. Without an underground parking lot to replace that surface lot, it's hard to imagine where any new wing could be built -- or where the museum could put new parking spaces for the larger crowds that an improved museum might draw. The historic grounds of the museum are a treasure in themselves. To rip up lovely parkland for parking seems absurd. Nor will the residents of tony Old Glenora be thrilled at the prospect of overflow tourists pulling up their RVs and minivans in front of their heritage homes.

    Clare and Lundholm have been asked to spend the next few months coming up with a new plan for the site. They've also been asked not to speak to the media about the design changes. Senior staff at the museum have also been told by the government not to speak publicly about the plans or the delays.

    But off the record, some close to the project say the government feared a public backlash against the museum expansion.

    "There was fear that people don't care enough about the museum, that for every positive letter, there will be 10 negatives," said one.

    It all seems a sad and cowardly betrayal of the province's earlier promises to build a first-class, showcase museum, the kind of magnet that would draw tourists, celebrate Alberta's history, culture and wildlife, and put this city on the international map. The renovated RAM was supposed to be the Conservative government's centennial gift to the province. But look this gift horse in the mouth, and the view isn't pretty. Yes, construction costs across the province are escalating wildly. But so are government and corporate revenues. This is no time for Albertans to content themselves with a cut-rate museum. The RAM has been waiting patiently for this renovation for a decade at least. To squander this opportunity now would be unbelievably short-sighted.

    Hector Goudreau, the minister of tourism, parks, recreation and culture, was unavailable for comment Wednesday. But Calgary MLA Gary Mar, who was the minister responsible for the Royal Alberta Museum when the original design plans were unveiled in November, spoke out. On Wednesday, Mar told me he had no idea that the project had been put on hold, or scaled back. He's not happy with the news.

    "The plans that were done were sublime, and I supported them strongly," he says. "The museum is such a vital resource, and it's underappreciated by people in government, to tell you the truth.

    "The government needs to look at cost in the context of value. Investing in culture is investing in the economic future of this province."

    During the Second World War, says Mar, British prime minister Winston Churchill came under immense pressure to cut funding to the British Museum, the better to fund the war effort. Churchill, he says, refused.

    "He said, 'If we're not here to fight for our culture, then what the hell are we fighting over?' "

    WOULD THE QUEEN BE AMUSED?

    When Queen Elizabeth II visited Edmonton two years ago and renamed the old provincial museum, says Mar, she was promised the new facility would be a building of distinction.

    "I wonder what Her Majesty the Queen would say if she knew that the site she designated her Royal Alberta Museum was not going to be as sublime as she'd been promised?"

    " 'We are not amused,' perhaps?"

    Well, I'm not the queen of anything. But I'm far from amused. Granted, there are all kinds of pressing infrastructure needs in this province. But we've never been richer. If this isn't the time to forge ahead with the building of a great museum, when will that time come?

    Years and years of weak-kneed bureaucratic bungling and political gutlessness have stalled construction for so long the expansion might never be built. And each month, each year we delay construction, costs escalate again. It's a waste. It's a tragedy. It's a shame. And the shame is ours, if we as a community aren't willing to speak out and demand better.

    [email protected]

  69. #69
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    EDMONTON, AB
    Posts
    557

    Default

    The historic grounds of the museum are a treasure in themselves. To rip up lovely parkland for parking seems absurd.
    Exactly
    I was really looking forward to this
    too bad

  70. #70

    Default

    This frustrates me. If we can't build a world class museum when the money is pouring in then it will never happen. This idea of "waiting until the market cools" is crap. It's not going to get any cheaper.

    Meanwhile Winnipeg is roaring ahead with its $311 million Human Rights Museum.

  71. #71
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    682

    Default

    ^Who the heck wants to go to a human rights museum anyways?

    Unfortunate news about the scaleback. Cohos Evamy and scalebacks do not bode well.

  72. #72
    C2E Continued Contributor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IKAN104
    Meanwhile Winnipeg is roaring ahead with its $311 million Human Rights Museum.
    Winnipeg doesn't have Alberta's labor shortage.

  73. #73
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Again, I find myself asking...


    ...the surprise here is?????

    Cost are escalating in a boom. Wow. It seems people forgot Economics 101.

    Museums are expensive....wow. I thought I could display my Kit Kat wrapper collection and people would come, ohh and ahh over it and say what a "world class idea". In fact, if I call it world class, it MUST be world class.



    When, oh when, is this province going to have vision? Not just politicians, but our "nuck nuck nuck pothole nuck nuck govern't iz ignut, but daze bettah paze for mah lazy arse pluze" myopic citizens who might have a backlash over spending on education....
    Onward and upward

  74. #74
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    41

    Default

    and after the Michael Palladino lecture (see http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...pic.php?t=2785 last night, I was soooo inspired to imagine how museums can really energize/reinvigorate the city.

    "The government needs to look at cost in the context of value. Investing in culture is investing in the economic future of this province," says Gary Mar

    During the Second World War, says Mar, British prime minister Winston Churchill came under immense pressure to cut funding to the British Museum, the better to fund the war effort. Churchill, he says, refused.

    "He said, 'If we're not here to fight for our culture, then what the hell are we fighting over?' "


    that says it all.

  75. #75
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,041

    Default

    On the other hand, maybe this is an opportune time to open this up to a design contest as per AGA. We all know that this will result in another Coho debacle.

  76. #76
    Addicted to C2E
    Mr. Reality Check

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    10,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    Again, I find myself asking...

    ...the surprise here is?????
    Does anybody else remember one of Paula's earlier columns?

    "Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: Saturday, March 11, 2006
    Remember that bumper sticker from the 1980s?

    The one that read, "Please God, send us another boom, and this time I promise not to p**s it all away"?

    Paula then went on to say "Maybe you do. Or maybe you don't."

    I remember both the column and the bumper sticker.

    And now I see us lined up at the same d**n urinal yet again...

    If we can't afford to purchase these things for our children now, then when?

  77. #77
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    exactly. That is why I keep saying beware of 1982....it is looking awfully similar....with the only exception being interest rates...

    You'd think the Calgary mafia in caucus would remember their city when the boom blew up...
    Onward and upward

  78. #78

    Default

    They were afraid of a backlash? Then by Gum, let's give 'em a backlash the likes of which they haven't seen in a while.

    Write letters folks. On paper.

  79. #79
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Downtown Edmonton
    Posts
    43,992

    Default

    this isnt govt doing a high speed gold plated train to calgary...this is about a lasting legacy for the province, the city, the world.


    i cannot believe this....well i can, but i cant!


    shame on you alberta
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  80. #80
    Partially Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    239

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by m0nkyman
    They were afraid of a backlash? Then by Gum, let's give 'em a backlash the likes of which they haven't seen in a while.

    Write letters folks. On paper.
    Yessir! I feel like a kid with candy dangling then all of a sudden taken away.

  81. #81
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I am beginning to think that the real snow clearing problem is the blizzard in our eyes and the actual pothole problem is that some people are speaking from the wrong one....
    Onward and upward

  82. #82
    C2E Super Addict
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Saskatchewan
    Posts
    1,329

    Default Re: RAM renos on hold

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula Simos
    It all seems a sad and cowardly betrayal of the province's earlier promises to build a first-class, showcase museum, the kind of magnet that would draw tourists, celebrate Alberta's history, culture and wildlife, and put this city on the international map. The renovated RAM was supposed to be the Conservative government's centennial gift to the province. But look this gift horse in the mouth, and the view isn't pretty. Yes, construction costs across the province are escalating wildly. But so are government and corporate revenues. This is no time for Albertans to content themselves with a cut-rate museum. The RAM has been waiting patiently for this renovation for a decade at least. To squander this opportunity now would be unbelievably short-sighted.
    I agree.

    shortsighted
    adj 1: lacking foresight or scope; "a short view of the problem";
    "shortsighted policies"; "shortsighted critics derided
    the plan" [syn: short, unforesightful]
    2: (ophthalmology) inability to focus on distant objects [syn:
    myopic]
    3: not given careful consideration; "ill-considered actions
    often result in disaster"; "an ill-judged attempt" [syn: ill considered, ill-judged, improvident]
    Source: dict.die.net

  83. #83
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    1

    Default Ram Renos on hold

    I usually just lurk silently in the background, reading what you all post....after all, I have a fine thumping soapbox of my own, and I've alway worried it's inappropriate for me to jump back into debates I've already started. But having read all your wonderful posts today, I just can't resist. I hope people who share my concern about the future of the museum will speak out, and not just on this forum. It's hard to get any kind of public debate started, when the museum staff and the architects have all been told not to comment. The EJ letters page wouldn't be a bad place to start. (Is it unethical to say that the address for our letters editor, Roy Cook, is [email protected] ? Because if it is unethical, just forget I ever said that.)

  84. #84

    Default

    It is not unethical--it is in the public record.

    Welcome to the non-lurking side!

  85. #85
    C2E Continued Contributor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    1,178

    Default RAM renos on hold

    Balderdash!

    If I thought it was a simple case of saving a few dollars I might agree with the irritation at the delay in construction. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the delay will have a financial penalty attached to it.

    Delay of this project will release hundreds of construction workers to work on a myriad of other, higher priority projects.

    We, who may attack the province for this delay may be blissfully unaware of the impact of the housing shortage, of families spending the winter living in holiday trailers or of families spending a fortune living in motels.

    I applaud the government for recognizing that the priority is people not a world class repository for artifacts that we can always build later when we have places for our laborers and their children to live safely and without crowding.

    The project is not canceled, it is only delayed, so relax people.

  86. #86
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Downtown Edmonton
    Posts
    43,992

    Default Re: RAM renos on hold

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Balderdash!

    If I thought it was a simple case of saving a few dollars I might agree with the irritation at the delay in construction. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the delay will have a financial penalty attached to it.

    Delay of this project will release hundreds of construction workers to work on a myriad of other, higher priority projects.

    We, who may attack the province for this delay may be blissfully unaware of the impact of the housing shortage, of families spending the winter living in holiday trailers or of families spending a fortune living in motels.

    I applaud the government for recognizing that the priority is people not a world class repository for artifacts that we can always build later when we have places for our laborers and their children to live safely and without crowding.

    The project is not canceled, it is only delayed, so relax people.

    That museum is a JOKE...A JOKE as is.......this project has been "delayed" for decades IMO.

    When i take people there they are amazed at how small and outdated the place is.

    "this is your provincial musuem?"

    ......i digress.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  87. #87
    Addicted to C2E
    Mr. Reality Check

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    10,318

    Default Re: RAM renos on hold

    dwells,

    it was that "either/or" that was put forward as a reason not to do everything from museums to completing the lrt twenty five years ago. as a result, my children grew up without them so it is their children we are now asking to do the same thing...

    these are not "either/or" decisions, and while that may well have cost implications what we are all striving for is a balance.

    ken

  88. #88
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    13

    Default

    “Enough is enough!” It has occurred too many times. Some centennial gift we’re getting. If we can’t build it now then when can we? This is utter nonsense and sheer idiocy. I am outraged. Just when I thought we were making progress (albeit…slow), one of the truly neglected legacies in the City is getting circumvented for some other political motivation that will leave us and our children with another lame and mediocre cookie cutter facility – it’s status quo again. I was able to accept the RAM proposal that would have seen it built over a number of phases (to recognize escalating costs!). And now things have changed? Pundits would suggest that it’s playing the political correctness card just before today’s provincial budget. I call it – short of backbone & vision. I don’t see the lack of support. In fact, I think there is overwhelming support for this facility to be built in its entirety as originally planned and accept the risk of escalating costs in today’s economic climate. Friends…we can’t let this one slip through the cracks! We have to voice our disagreement. Is it worth the risk of handing the purveyors of political correctness a victory by default just to make a statement to those culturally challenged citizens that the province is looking out for the best interest of all? I would like to think we are more intelligent than that.

  89. #89
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Downtown Edmonton
    Posts
    43,992

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by civicpride
    “Enough is enough!” It has occurred too many times. Some centennial gift we’re getting. If we can’t build it now then when can we? This is utter nonsense and sheer idiocy. I am outraged. Just when I thought we were making progress (albeit…slow), one of the truly neglected legacies in the City is getting circumvented for some other political motivation that will leave us and our children with another lame and mediocrity cookie cutter facility – it’s status quo again. I was able to accept the RAM proposal that would have seen it built over a number of phases (to recognize escalating costs!). And now things have changed? Pundits would suggest that it’s playing the political correctness card just before today’s provincial budget. I call it – short of backbone & vision. I don’t see the lack of support. In fact, I think there is overwhelmingly support for this facility to be built in its entirety as originally planned and accept the risk of escalating costs in today’s economic climate. Friends…we can’t let this one slip through the cracks! We have to voice our disagreement. Is it worth the risk of handing the purveyors of political correctness a victory by default just to make a statement to those culturally challenged citizens that the province is looking out for the best interest of all? I would like to think we are more intelligent than that.

    AMEN....write your MLAs, your civic leaders!
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  90. #90
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: RAM renos on hold

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Balderdash!

    If I thought it was a simple case of saving a few dollars I might agree with the irritation at the delay in construction. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the delay will have a financial penalty attached to it.

    Delay of this project will release hundreds of construction workers to work on a myriad of other, higher priority projects.

    We, who may attack the province for this delay may be blissfully unaware of the impact of the housing shortage, of families spending the winter living in holiday trailers or of families spending a fortune living in motels.

    I applaud the government for recognizing that the priority is people not a world class repository for artifacts that we can always build later when we have places for our laborers and their children to live safely and without crowding.

    The project is not canceled, it is only delayed, so relax people.
    I don't mind that they will wait another year in the hopes to save some money, but it's the fact that they are scaling back the project to something less than spectacular that really irritates me. The concept for the renovation/addition is spectacular and would develop a legacy for the province and the city. but no, not for edmonton! We're not good enough for these kinds of projects?

    our government has no vision, no substance, no balls and hopefully no future!

  91. #91
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Downtown Edmonton
    Posts
    43,992

    Default

    "I don't mind that they will wait another year in the hopes to save some money"

    thats the thing though...time = money in this economy...$200mil in 07 is 225mil in 08 to build.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  92. #92
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    EDMONTON, AB
    Posts
    557

    Default

    Does the Glenbow in Calgary get more funding then the provincial museum from the government?

  93. #93
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    647

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    "I don't mind that they will wait another year in the hopes to save some money"

    thats the thing though...time = money in this economy...$200mil in 07 is 225mil in 08 to build.
    That's based on the assumption that this boom economy will last indefinately. It's got to reach a plateau sometime, it seriously doubt it will last for several more years. In another year we could have increased royalties from oilsands (it's a long shot) and therefore a greater pool of money for legacy projects.

  94. #94
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: RAM renos on hold

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Balderdash!

    If I thought it was a simple case of saving a few dollars I might agree with the irritation at the delay in construction. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the delay will have a financial penalty attached to it.

    Delay of this project will release hundreds of construction workers to work on a myriad of other, higher priority projects.
    While I understand the points, I don't agree with anything with the words "cost saving" here. All this does is delay while prices inflate, and in the end we get even less. kcantor said it best, I've heard these promises all my life, and we STILL have displays that i remember from waaaaaay too long ago. We wait on a zoo, we wait on LRT, we wait on roads, we wait. 23 ave is delayed for what now, 20 years since it was first talked about? Whitemud is what, 20 years past due. LRT south is 10 years past due. LRT to WEM is 15 years past due. How much "cheaper" have all these non-museum projects become?

    Fiscal prudence is an excuse - and a lame one at that. Showpieces cost money, and if we are to build a museum to the superlatives they exuded when they announced this project, it is not going to be any cheaper than today. Period.

    ...or else we can crawl back to a day where a "world class" park is a grassy knoll with a pyrogy on a tootpick and Bob's old firehose for a fountain....that is pretty fiscally prudent if you ask me. Paper Mache, a little Varathane, an old telephone pole, and put it near some slough to get water. That'll be world class.

    The housing shortage and other items are definitely private sector issues, and the labour shortage has answers if people can just get over prejudices and union “job security” blah blah. Blaming a museum is silly here, this project is not the problem, our lacklustre immigration policies and deep rooted prejudices are more the culprit here. At best, this shortage is a convenient excuse to further hide behind the complete lack of planning and control the current government has on this boom that they knew was coming. It is the embodiment of letting the freight train get out of control. Adam Smith on a bender if you ask me...

    Sorry, I am too old to think that delay does not = forgetaboutit....I have too many examples to expect otherwise.


    ***EDIT--add***

    OK, walked away and took a deep breath. dwells, I am sorry if this came across as an attack, but I am tired of the tip toeing around the real source of the issue here...there really is no good time to build this museum, there will alwyas be an enabling excuse to do nothing (not enough labour, economy is in the toilet, etc), and the need for thinking beyond potholes has to become more entrenched....

    So, sorry for the amped up tone, but I need to get that point across.
    Onward and upward

  95. #95
    First One is Always Free
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Well put!

    I am personally following up with our civic and provincial leaders (for a lack of a better term). We cannot let this one slip. It has happened all too many times. And this project is simply too important to let go. I challenge others to do the same.

  96. #96
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    EDMONTON, AB
    Posts
    557

    Default

    Hear Hear

  97. #97
    C2E Continued Contributor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    "I don't mind that they will wait another year in the hopes to save some money"

    thats the thing though...time = money in this economy...$200mil in 07 is 225mil in 08 to build.
    If only it were that simple. The limiting resource is not the cost, it's the manpower.

    We have construction in the oil sands, highway construction, industrial construction, upgrader construction, power-line construction, apartment/condo tower construction, LRT construction, single family home subdivision construction, road construction, sidewalk rehabilitation, office tower construction, overpass construction, and many more.

    How should we prioritize these and where should the RAM fit into the list? Even if we wanted to import several thousand experienced construction laborers from Manitoba, China or Mexico to manage the shortage, we'd still have no place for them to live for the duration.

  98. #98
    C2E Junkie *
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    13,285
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells

    How should we prioritize these and where should the RAM fit into the list? Even if we wanted to import several thousand experienced construction laborers from Manitoba, China or Mexico to manage the shortage, we'd still have no place for them to live for the duration.

    um...er...hello basic project management? Allowing several mega projects to go ahead unabated w/o properly assessing the labour capacity available is Failue 101 in PMI. The same government body that is crying labour shortage for this museum has allowed unabated expansion in the other industries you talk about. Add to it the ability for these companies to start announcing megaproject x and megaproject y w/o properly assessing the labour situation themselves has basically set them up for failure - all at their own hand.

    Again, Adam Smith on a bender...and we keep giving him alcohol and wonder why hyperinflation is here...
    Onward and upward

  99. #99

    Default

    Bottom line. Culture is important. This is not a cost thing. Museums are an investment.
    If we're going to seriously try and attract more businesses and people, we need cultural institutions that we can point to and say "Your employees and their families will have access to world class museums, galleries, theatre and music." 'Cause Ottawa has 'em. Vancouver has 'em. Toronto has 'em. Edmonton has decent theatre and music... but a crap museum, and an art gallery that is currently mediocre.

  100. #100
    C2E Continued Contributor
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    1,178

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    Quote Originally Posted by dwells

    How should we prioritize these and where should the RAM fit into the list? Even if we wanted to import several thousand experienced construction laborers from Manitoba, China or Mexico to manage the shortage, we'd still have no place for them to live for the duration.
    um...er...hello basic project management? Allowing several mega projects to go ahead unabated w/o properly assessing the labour capacity available is Failue 101 in PMI. The same government body that is crying labour shortage for this museum has allowed unabated expansion in the other industries you talk about. Add to it the ability for these companies to start announcing megaproject x and megaproject y w/o properly assessing the labour situation themselves has basically set them up for failure - all at their own hand.
    Maybe we should set up a Regional Construction Priorities Authority to work under the Regional Planning Authority.

    Failure 101 or not, someone has to temporarily step away from the table. If not the RAM, then whose project should have lower priority?

    As a discussion point, would we be agreeable that for any non-essential public construction projects we should set a threshold such as, maybe, a certain percentage of vacancy in residential and office space or a specified unemployment rate before we demand that construction go ahead without any further excuses.

Page 1 of 32 1234511 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •