A few recent architectural gems in Vancouver have earned their place in the national spotlight.
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Canada Council for the Arts have named University of British Columbia’s (UBC) new Aquatic Centre, Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver, and the Dock Building at Jericho Beach in Vancouver as three of the recipients of this year’s Governor General’s Medal in Architecture.
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A total of 12 recently completed buildings are recipients of the biennial awards, with all of the 2020 winners — selected by a jury — designed by Canadian architects and firms. Most of these buildings see public or institutional uses.
The only building that is located outside of Canada is the Bahá’íTemple of South America, which is designed by Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects.
“The 2020 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture represent the best in contemporary Canadian architecture—and the projects explore unique aspects of culture, context, and materiality across the vast expanse of our country,” said RAIC president John Brown in a statement.
“They are a testament to the skill of the award-winning architectural firms and the tenacity of their clients who helped bring the poetic vision into reality. The RAIC is proud to advocate for the quality of Canada’s built environment by celebrating the work of these talented architects.”
UBC Aquatic Centre
The 2016-completed, $33.5 million new aquatic centre was designed by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects and Acton Ostry Architects. According to the submission, the recreational facility achieves a balance between elite level training, competitions, and daily leisure use for the growing UBC community.
The 85,000-sq-ft facility’s key components include a 51-metre FINA competition and training pool, a 25-metre diving well with moveable floor, a warm water leisure pool, and spectator bleachers.
A “sectional split” of skylights allows natural light to pour into the facility.
Designed by Patkau Architects and built in 2017, the Polygon Gallery is a key cultural and institutional centrepiece for the City of North Vancouver’s plans to revitalize its industrial waterfront at the foot of Lonsdale, just east of Lonsdale Quay and the SeaBus terminal.
The main mass of the building is lifted from the ground level to create open access to the new plaza and a wide view of downtown Vancouver’s skyline.
The $12 million building’s saw-toothed form is clad in layers of mirrored stainless steel beneath expanded aluminum decking. The interior contains flexible gallery and event space that optimizes views of the inlet and the skyline.
The Dock Building
Completed in 2017, the form of Dock Building at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, located at Jericho Beach, represents “a lantern to the sea and a lantern to the land.”
The structure is located at the edge of the water, where the high tide line is.
It heavily incorporates long-lasting timber including glulam posts, beams and a plywood interior, while a translucent polycarbonate exterior allows light to stream through during the daytime and creates a glowing appearance during nighttime when the interior lights are illuminated.
It had a modest $3.5 million budget, with about half of the project spent on foundation and piles, but Michael Green Architecture was able to overcome the challenge with meeting both the project’s functional and aesthetic goals.