Vancouver Art Gallery announces new building and a new name

West Georgia Street at night. Rendering © Herzog & de Meuron.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is several steps closer to getting new digs.

Long in the planning, the relocation is one step closer to reality. Yesterday, Jan 23, the gallery announced the design for its new home.

The projected building will be a 300,000 square-foot concrete-and-steel behemoth, with wood and glass at courtyard buildings. The expanded floor space will allow for an increase in the size and scope of the gallery’s exhibitions as well as more space for its 25 permanent collection galleries.

More community spaces, a 350-seat theatre, and publicly accessible Resource Centre Library and archives will also enliven the new facility. And the new building will allow for a major expansion of the Gallery’s education programs.

The architectural firm behind VAG v. 02 is Herzog & de Meuron. The Basel, Switzerland firm’s previous projects include the National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China (also known as the Bird’s Nest) and the conversion of the Bankside power plant to Tate Modern in London, UK. A series of internationally acclaimed museum buildings is also under the firm’s belt.

Gallery Courtyard view of entry pavilion at Cambie Street. © Herzog & de Meuron

The new building, however, will not be called the Vancouver Art Gallery. Instead, owing to the injection of $40M from the city’s Chan family, the 88-year-old institution is getting a new name: Chan Centre for the Visual Arts. According to the press release, the donation is “the largest-ever single private donation to an arts and culture organization in British Columbia.”

The next step in the project is to secure yet more funding, from senior levels of government and the private sector, to begin construction.

So far, the Vancouver Art Gallery Capital Campaign has collected the land (Larwill Park, at the intersection of W. Georgia and Cambie streets, a few blocks from the gallery’s current home at Georgia and Hornby) from the City of Vancouver and $135m. The latter includes an initial investment of $50m from the Province of British Columbia. The campaign will “continue its work with senior levels of government and the private sector to secure the additional funding needed to begin construction.”

Estimated completion for the Chan Centre for the Visual Arts is 2023.

Gallery Courtyard. Herzog & de Meuron.
Gallery Lobby with view to Sunken Garden. Herzog & de Meuron

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