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Polygon Gallery receives a 2021 AIA Award for Architecture

Patkau Architects is one of 10 award-winners—and the only Canadian recipient.

Patkau Architects has received a 2021 AIA Architecture Award for the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver. The project is the new home for an independent photography and media institution that has served North Vancouver’s creative community for nearly 40 years.

2021 ARCHITECTURE AWARD RECIPIENT, POLYGON GALLERY, NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, PATKAU ARCHITECTS via aia.org

The 2021 Architecture program celebrates the best contemporary architecture regardless of budget, size, style, or type. Patkau Architects is one of 10 award winners, and the only Canadian recipient.

The gallery, called Presentation House Gallery when it began in the 1970s, was initially located in a community center inside an early-1900s all-girls school. The new gallery’s central mass floats above the ground plane, providing access to a new public space and a sweeping view of Vancouver’s skyline across the inlet. It is marked with a sawtooth profile clad in mirrored stainless steel sitting beneath expanded aluminum decking.

PLAZA WITH FOUNTAIN, MAIN ENTRANCE, EAST FACADE via aia.org

“The facade’s materials play off one another, lending a sense of mass and depth that shifts with differing sunlight conditions and the evening atmosphere. The facade functions as the gallery’s uniform voice, just bold enough to define its place on the waterfront without contributing to any visual noise,” says the American Institute of Architects.

Inside, the exhibition spaces remain free of obstacles, creating space for creativity to reign. More studio than museum, the gallery’s backbone is a large open space lit by diffuse northern light. Steel purlins hosting lighting, temporary partitions, and suspended works of art support the space. The gallery’s upper level includes a flexible event space that accommodates educational, outreach, and private events. Its southern wall is an operable glazed panorama overlooking the water.

The lower level houses spaces for small retail outlets, while street-level activity at the gallery “attracts a burgeoning social life at the waterfront and energizes this new cultural precinct.”

MAIN GALLERY WITH UTILITY PURLINS, NORTHERN LIGHT MONITOR BLACK-OUT BLINDS RETRACTED via aia.org

Architect: Patkau Architects Inc.

Lead Design Architects: John Patkau, FRAIC, AIA, RIBA, Patricia Patkau, FRAIC, AIA, RIBA, Peter Suter, AIBC, With: Michael Green, Marc Holland, Jacqueline Ho, Thomas Schroeder

Structural: Fast+Epp – Duane Palibroda , Derek Ratzlaff

Energy (Mech/Elec): Integral Group – Mary On, Stephanie Hammar 

Cost: Alan Nicholson

Code: Geoff Triggs

Contractor: The Haebler Group – General Contractors and Engineers

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