The City of Vancouver will be re-building the Vancouver Art Gallery’s North Plaza with a brand new design.
The popular plaza (bounded by West Georgia, Hornby and Howe Streets) is one of Vancouver’s most well-used public spaces, hosting everything from festivals, outdoor jazz concerts, public demonstrations to the 2010 Olympic Countdown Clock in recent years.
However, the plaza hasn’t been in the best shape lately and its surface has been covered with wood chips even though it is one of the city’s most high profile public spaces.
The goal of the City is to create a plaza that reflects the needs and desires of the public, respects its location at the historical entry to the Vancouver Art Gallery building and its relationship to Robson Square.
Currently the existing membrane underneath the North Plaza is degraded and water is leaking into the underground spaces of the Art Gallery. Because the plaza needs to undergo critical maintenance, the City is investigating how the space can be used before construction begins. The information collected will be used to help redesign the site.
Prior to construction of the North Plaza, which is expected in 2014, a Development Permit will be required and the public will be consulted on the design.
The North Plaza is owned by the Province of BC and leased to the City for use. Activities on the North Plaza are currently coordinated by the City.
The Province of BC must approve any changes the City proposes to make to the North Plaza and is responsible for the maintenance of the fountain and the area immediately around it.
An open house on preliminary concept plan options for the new plaza has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 1 (5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and Saturday, October 5 (12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Both open houses will be held at UBC Robson Square’s Plaza Lounge.
Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza History
- In 2011, funds were requested from the 2012-2014 City budget for the redevelopment of the plaza and the re-waterproofing of the underground spaces of the Art Gallery.
- In 1966-1967, it was redeveloped with a different style of landscaping and to accommodate the fountain. Since then. changes have been small and incremental.
- In 1911, the courthouse, now the Vancouver Art Gallery, was completed and the plaza was used for large ceremonies.
The southeast view of the plaza in 1917 from the intersection of West Georgia and Hornby Streets.
Images: City of Vancouver