Construction begins on Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Gallery at Simon Fraser University

Rendering courtesy of The Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Museum

Construction has officially begun on the Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Gallery, designed by Siamak Hariri of Hariri Pontarini Architects and located at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Museum, located at SFU, draws inspiration from the university’s strong dedication to creative experimentation, collaboration, and meaningful interaction. With an open and informal design, the Gibson Art Museum aims to welcome everyone, including students, faculty, children, families, art enthusiasts, and those new to the visual arts.

The museum is a single-level structure that spans its site, comprising a network of interconnected spaces. Hariri took inspiration from the original architectural vision of Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey for SFU’s Burnaby Mountain campus.

Their vision aimed to promote intellectual innovation through horizontal, interdisciplinary connections. In response to this vision, Siamak Hariri designed the Gibson Art Museum, staying true to the campus’s ethos of fostering creativity and collaboration.

Bookshop, with view into Djavad Mowafaghian Forum. Commissioned mural, Francisco-Fernando Granados, puntos suspensivos. 2023. Digital drawing, dimensions variable, 2023. Courtesy the artist. (Source: The Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Museum)

The new visual art facility will showcase thought-provoking and research-driven works by contemporary artists, expanding SFU Galleries’ existing range of programs and creating fresh opportunities for artist-led learning and interdisciplinary exploration.

Additionally, the Gibson will be the home of the SFU Art Collection, an invaluable and continuously growing resource featuring over 5,800 works of art. The collection is distinguished by its ability to trace the intricate social and cultural history of this region, always open to new investigations.

Both Marianne and her late husband, Dr. Edward Gibson, shared a belief in the transformative power of art to spark curiosity and foster inclusive communities. Dr. Gibson, who became a charter faculty member at the university in 1965 and later served as the Director of SFU Gallery from 1986 to 1997, was a devoted advocate for students, ideas, and the ever-evolving culture of the West Coast throughout his three-decade tenure.

South Gallery, with SFU Art Collection works by Roy Kenzie Kiyooka. From left to right: #2 – Ottoman; # 2 Haida; #2 Corinth; #2 Iberian, 1971; #2 – Polynesian. All screenprints, 1971. Gifts of Toronto Dominion Bank, 1998. (Source: The Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Museum)

The courageous vision of Marianne and Dr. Gibson centered on establishing an art museum that would create a welcoming space for diverse communities to learn, connect, and flourish within SFU’s artistic and cultural landscape.

“Dr. Gibson’s former students remember him stressing that the work of challenging accepted paradigms demands bravery, creativity, and collaboration. His convictions have fueled our commitment to create a new kind of visual arts facility—one that manifestly reimagines what an art museum can do, and for whom it exists,” said Kimberly Phillips, SFU Galleries Director.

A ground-awakening ceremony took place on Aug. 1, 2023, to celebrate the occasion.