Design: A Grand Folly in Ottawa

Canada's newest museum is costly, controversial and curious

As the grayest, quietest, most culturally introverted major city in a gray, quiet, culturally introverted country, Ottawa is not a place where one expects to find architecture on the fringe. But when the Canadian Museum of Civilization officially opened last week just across the river in the city of Hull, it took its place as one of the largest museums in the world and certainly one of the more curious -- a wildly eccentric, million-square-foot limestone pile of curves and ellipses, Antoni Gaudi crossed with late Frank Lloyd Wright, baroque quirkiness run amuck. Architect Douglas Cardinal's museum is more a fascinating...