Canadian Museum for Human Rights: An anticipated work of architecture, but not one of our best

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By Alex Bozikovic
Sep. 26 2014, The Globe and Mail

It’s rare that a new Canadian building appears on a postage stamp, but there it was on letters this month: the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, looking heroic in profile. The Winnipeg building is both the container and the physical face of this new national museum. It is one of the most anticipated works of architecture in Canada’s history.

It is not one of the best. When New Mexico architect Antoine Predock won the job a decade ago, the building was meant to embody the museum’s high aspirations. Instead, it is a monolith of mixed metaphors – a monument to the vagueness that defined the institution at the start.

The museum, designed by Predock with Winnipeg’s Architecture 49, opens some of its galleries on Saturday. It enacts a symbolic journey upward to light and hope. You enter at the base, between the Roots – great masses of Tyndall stone and concrete; move from a subterranean Great Hall up to the Mountain, a double stack of boxes that contain the galleries; and follow a Trail of Light up to the Tower of Hope. From there you go down an elevator to the Garden of Contemplation, which stands at the base of an atrium and a 23-storey-tall glass Cloud. You’ll pass the gift shop on your way out. Read more…

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