The Vancouver Art Gallery unveiled Herzog & de Meuron’s conceptual design for a new museum building in downtown Vancouver. The 310,000-square-foot building is designed to serve the Gallery’s expanding collection and to support the work of artists from Vancouver, throughout British Columbia and across the world, to engage its growing audiences and enrich educational opportunities for lifelong learning, and to advance Vancouver’s reputation as an international centre for contemporary art.
The new building features over 85,000 square feet of exhibition space—more than doubling its current size—with 40,000 square feet of galleries dedicated to the museum’s vast collection. It also features a new education centre that includes a 350-seat auditorium, workshops and a resource centre for research, library services and artist archives. Their design for the Gallery’s 230-foot-high building comprises seven publicly accessible floors, plus two below-grade levels for storage and parking.
There is also additional space for future expansion. It combines low and high elements to create an intimate human scale that activates the street level, while embracing a bold verticality and solid sculptural form that strongly affirm the presence of the Gallery within the cityscape. The lower levels are mostly transparent, making many of the Gallery’s activities visible, while the upper levels, which primarily house exhibition spaces, are more solid and opaque.
The architects’ intent is to use wood for the building. The material is sustainable and evokes the architectural history of the region, including the two-storey wooden row houses that surrounded Larwill Park in the early twentieth century. British Columbia is at the forefront of constructing large wood buildings, making it an ideal place for a building of this material.
The Gallery will raise an estimated $350 million Canadian dollars from public and private sources, including a $50 million endowment to support the expanded cost of operation. In addition to private fundraising, it has received a $50 million gift from the Province of British Columbia and the generous donation of the Larwill Park site by the City of Vancouver. The unveiling of the conceptual design of the Gallery marks the launch of the public phase of the Capital Campaign. Source by Vancouver Art Gallery (press release), Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron.