Is it god or the devil that’s in the details? Gustave Flaubert believed it was the deity. His aphorism to that effect was often quoted by architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier (or Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, if you want to be formal). Frank Gehry must have had it in mind, too, when he was finalizing his design for the revamped Art Gallery of Ontario.
With the November 14 reopening date only days away, workers are hard at it to finish the dramatic structure on the Dundas Street side of the AGO that somewhat resembles a glass Zeppelin. As they used a crane with a sucker attachment to temporarily remove one of the immense panes of glass on Friday, there was a sharp crack and a corner broke off. What do you reckon a piece like that must cost to replace? It’s not something they could get cut at the nearest window supply store.
Be that as it may, several panes in the glass curtain wall (it’s not really a Zeppelin, but you knew that) have notches cut in their upper corners. They’re to allow the support wires for the streetcar power lines to be attached to the building. It’s a mundane reason, but the sort of essential detail the devil would make an architect overlook—that even with a $254 million arts project, you have to remember to keep the transit running.
Photos by Bill Taylor/Torontoist