May 18, 2008
by Canadian Architect
The Vancouver Art Gallery has been offered a prime location on Vancouver’s False Creek waterfront. Last week, the Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia announced the future gallery site as part of a plan to expand the city’s sport, culture and entertainment district. Following on the heels of the provincial commitment of $50 million for a new Vancouver Art Gallery announced March 6, 2008, the site represents another extremely positive development in the organization’s plans to construct a new purpose-built art museum.
“The False Creek location presents an exciting opportunity to imagine a new Vancouver Art Gallery on this beautiful waterfront site, one that would serve as an anchor for this extension of Vancouver’s thriving cultural community,” said Kathleen Bartels, director. “In addition to Premier Campbell’s recent commitment of $50 million, we are extremely grateful to the Province of British Columbia for bringing us another step closer to realizing our dream for a new Vancouver Art Gallery.”
After an exploration of several possible locations in the downtown core, the False Creek site rose to the top of the list, but only recently has this site become a possibility for a new Vancouver Art Gallery. The site will allow the gallery to construct a building of approximately 320,000 square feet, double its current size, to meet the institution’s exhibitions, collections and programming needs for the next 50 years and beyond while providing additional opportunities for outdoor gallery programming on the waterfront.
After an extensive master planning process which concluded in 2004, the gallery determined requirements for a building of approximately 320,000 square feet, more than double the size of the current building. After 25 years in its current location in downtown Vancouver’s Robson Square, the former provincial courthouse building no longer meets the organization’s needs across all areas of operation. The historic building, constructed in 1906 and redesigned by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson in 1983 to accommodate the Vancouver Art Gallery, now has a severe lack of space for exhibitions, collections and programs, and also possesses seismic vulnerabilities and aging systems.