Vancouver Art Gallery seeks funding for Herzog and de Meuron-designed redevelopment

by Tom Anstey | 09 Oct 2015

Vancouver Art Gallery is in line for a radical redevelopment, but only if the Canadian attraction can fund the multi-million dollar cost of the ambitious plans, which will double the institution’s exhibition footprint.

The CA$350m (US$267m, €237.8m, £175.7m) plans, designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, feature a wooden exterior, with rectangular stacks – each varying in size – sitting on top of each other. According to the architects, the wood-clad design is a nod to Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood, one of the city’s earliest settlements and historically a densely-wooded area.

"The urbanistic concept is based on the contrast between the low-rise framing along the street block and the taller and more sculptural building in the middle of an open and accessible garden and square," said Jacques Herzog.

"The low-rise wooden building along the street is inspired by how the streets in Vancouver were built in earlier times," he added. "The modest, almost domestic scale will enhance the character of openness and visibility for everyone."

So far the gallery has committed CA$23m (US$17.5m, €15.6m, £11.5m) towards the redevelopment – a CA$277m (€188m, £139m) shortfall, not including a CA$50m (US$38.1m, €34m, £25m) endowment granted by the province of British Columbia.

The new gallery, to be located in downtown Vancouver, will be the height of a 20-storey building with seven publicly accessible floors with 85,000sq ft (7,900sq m) of exhibition space, as well as two below ground floors for parking and storage.

“Herzog and de Meuron’s buildings not only effectively and elegantly meet the needs of their users, they also become places that are part of the cultural DNA of a city,” said Kathleen Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“Over the past 15 years, our collection has grown by more than 250 per cent, attendance has increased 350 per cent, and membership has increased by 300 per cent. The conceptual design for the downtown building responds brilliantly and efficiently to the changing needs of our institution and our community.”

Assuming the gallery collects the necessary funding, a groundbreaking is expected to happen in late 2017, with a launch date of 2021. Herzog and de Meuron will also be working with the Vancouver office of US firm Perkins + Will on the project.

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Herzog & de Meuron to design new, expanded Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery is in line for a radical redevelopment, but only if the Canadian attraction can fund the multi-million dollar cost of the ambitious plans, which will double the institution’s exhibition footprint. The CA$350m (US$267m, €237.8m, £175.7m) plans, designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, feature a wooden exterior, with rectangular stacks – each varying in size – sitting on top of each other. According to the architects,
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The wood-clad design is a nod to Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood, one of the city’s earliest settlements and historically a densely-wooded area / Herzog and de Meuron
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