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Beijing Bird's Nest Stadium architects chosen to design new Vancouver Art Gallery

DH Vancouver Staff Apr 29, 2014 10:16 am

Switzerland-based Herzog & de Meuron has been selected to design the new and expanded $300 million Vancouver Art Gallery at downtown Vancouver’s Larwill Park.

The new museum building will be the first project in Canada for the Pritzker Prize–winning firm that has previously designed some of the world’s most iconic structures such as London’s Tate Modern, Beijing’s Bird Nest Stadium, Basel’s Schaulager, Miami’s Pérez Art Museum, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, San Francisco’s de Young Museum, and Tokyo’s Prada Aoyama.

At approximately 300,000 square feet, the new Gallery building will provide more than double the space of the current facility to support the museum’s collections, exhibitions, and programs, which have increased exponentially over the past decade.

It will also enable the Gallery to better serve its growing audience, expand the international reach and range of its program, and further enhance Vancouver’s standing as a major centre of cultural production. The Gallery plans to unveil conceptual designs for the new building in early 2015.

“We are thrilled to be working with Herzog & de Meuron and to be the first to bring their incredible talent to Canada. Our new Gallery will be a vital and dynamic resource for Vancouver, one that engages and welcomes artists and visitors from the region and from around the world,” said Kathleen S. Bartels, Gallery Director.

“Herzog & de Meuron’s designs are recognized internationally for both their creativity and sensitivity to place. Their buildings not only effectively and elegantly meet the needs of their users, but also become places that are part of the cultural draw and identity of a city,” said Bruce Munro Wright, Chair of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Architect Selection Committee.

Herzog & de Meuron were selected from a group of five shortlisted firms from across the globe -including Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York), KPMB Architects (Toronto), SANAA (Tokyo), and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (New York) – following a series of in-depth interviews and site visits to significant projects designed by each firm. The finalists, announced in January 2014, represented five of 75 firms from 16 different countries, who submitted their credentials through an open request for qualifications (RFQ) process issued by the Gallery.

The new Vancouver Art Gallery will be located at West Georgia and Cambie Streets in downtown Vancouver, on Larwill Park – a city-owned site that was awarded to the museum by unanimous vote of the Vancouver City Council in April 2013. The new building will include dedicated space for the museum’s growing collections, expanded indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces for the Gallery’s dynamic exhibitions, and new educational facilities that will allow it to dramatically increase educational and public programs.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has received significant support for its expansion, including a $50-million gift from the Province of British Columbia and the designation by the City of Vancouver of the downtown site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets. However, in order to use the site, the municipal government has required the Gallery to raise an additional $150 million from federal and provincial governments by the end of April 2015.

The Gallery expects to announce early capital gifts in the coming weeks and launch the public phase of the capital campaign as the conceptual design is unveiled.

Construction on the new Gallery building is scheduled to begin in March 2017 for a spring 2020 opening.


Featured Image: Beijing Bird Nest Stadium via Shutterstock

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