It has been a decade since Diamond Schmitt Architects transformed the quotidian into a time travel experience on the Toronto subway at Museum station. To celebrate the rich collections of the Royal Ontario Museum as well as to engage the public, a sequence of archeologically inspired columns lines the platform like so many commuters waiting for their train.
Based on artifacts from the Royal Ontario Museum and the Gardiner Museum, which are directly above the station, these iconic symbols of Canada’s First Nations, Ancient Egypt, China’s traditional culture, Mexico’s Toltec culture and Ancient Greece also represent load-bearing artifacts from their era, lending authenticity to their role of ‘supporting’ the train station’s ceiling.
The Museum is acknowledging the first decade of this re-imagination of what a subway station can be in a feature article in ROM Magazine. To read the fully illustrated article, ‘Art on the Tracks: The story behind the sculptures at Museum subway station’, please click here.
The renewal of the 45-year-old station included updated way-finding, lighting, custom seating and a wall finish with hieroglyph inscriptions embedded in metal panels to create a contemporary backdrop for the signature column display. “The robust station design helps to orient subway riders by providing visual clues about activities above ground,” said Gary McCluskie, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The subway station design received international recognition in 2014, being named among “The world’s most beautiful metro stations,” by The Guardian newspaper in the UK. To view that article, please click here.
Diamond Schmitt Architects has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York City. The firm’s extensive portfolio includes commercial, institutional and residential buildings, performing arts centres, and healthcare facilities. Current projects include the soon-to-open York Region bus terminal at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre; the new home for the Senate of Canada in Ottawa; anew campus for York University in Markham, Ontario.