Romanticist artists and intellectuals of the 19th century were awed by the grandeur and sublimity of ancient ruins that mingled the ?natural? and the ?man-made? in a unique instant of time and space. This reciprocal consummation of nature and architecture sits in contrast with the idealized image of buildings as everlasting monument, frozen in a pristine state. For Romanticists, nature was that which in its own ?nature? complements, as opposed to deteriorates, architectural form.
The Anti-museum project takes these ideas of nature and seeks to (re)introduce them to the architecture of the present time. The wilderness of the 19th century is long since gone in today?s urban environments and has evolved into a broader and more diverse existence and is internalized by modern society. It is comprised of things such as identity, history, traditions, social relations, etc. all encoded in material form.
As a significant part of Toronto?s Harbourfront area, the site offers challenges and opportunities. The project aligns itself with (and as a part of) the ongoing Bathurst Quay Neighborhood Development Plan. It focuses on redesigning the southern (older) set of these silos, which takes place inside a larger redevelopment proposal for the entire property and its vicinity (formerly owned by Canada Malting Co. and presently by the City of Toronto). It includes a museum, an extension to the Harbourfront Community Centre and site developments to address accessibility issues for the promenade, the Ireland Park and the Billy Bishop airport.
The nomenclature highlights the dialectical relation between the proposed Toronto Harbourfront Museum (as a conventional museum) and Anti-museum, in which the space and the objects themselves curate the experience (i.e. the landfill soil that is composed of debris of old Toronto or old wooden piles that were driven into the landfill to reach bedrock).