I have been writing about the new Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) sporadically as new information comes up about the project. Everyone has an opinion on the design, the location, and how this building would connect with pedestrians at the ground level.
Five years ago Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron were chosen to come up with a design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery to be located at 688 Cambie Street on land provided by the City on a 99 year lease.The original report to council in 2013 proposed a new art gallery that was double the size of the current gallery with 85,000 square feet of gallery space, with a cost of $350 million dollars in 2013. At that time the Federal and Provincial governments conditionally pledged 200 million dollars with the remaining 150 million dollars to be raised by private fundraising. That is a huge amount, and may be the largest sum raised privately in Canada.
The Chan family have graciously donated 40 million dollars to the project, and are the same family that provided 10 million dollars to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia.
As the Vancouver Sun’s Kevin Griffin notes “If everything goes according to plan and the VAG can raise another $165 million from private and public sources, the new gallery could be ready to show art by about 2023. That would mean being able to see art for free in two lower-level galleries, visit a dedicated area for the work of Emily Carr, and have a glass of wine in the restaurant overlooking the city.”
The new Art Gallery would create a new public space and gathering place in the downtown area. At the same time of the announcement a new design of the proposed gallery was also presented showing more glass on the exterior and less wood. You can see the new design below.
And you can compare that new rendering with the previous design given to the public here.
While the building is still boxy, the use of glass breaks up some of the monotony of the design, but a fence still scaffolds the public from around the building.
Compare this design with that just released for the new Barbican Hall in London:
— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) January 24, 2019
The new Barbican Hall is a 373 million pound (approx 649 million Canadian dollars) building which will include a concert hall, bars and restaurants. This design is by the American firm of Diller, Sofidio + Renfro. But the geometry and Jumanji massing appears to be a trend in new public buildings that form the heart of cities.
You can watch a short video from the Vancouver Sun of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s announcement of the Chan Family donation as well as some of the new images of the proposed gallery design below.