The Vancouver Art Gallery announced it will be the recipient of a $100 million transformational gift from the Audain Foundation, to support the creation of the New Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver. With this announcement, it was also unveiled the revised massing and façade of its highly anticipated new building designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron together with Vancouver architects Perkins+Will.
The new Vancouver Art Gallery at the Chan Centre for the Visual Arts will be a multi-functional art centre and community space – a revitalized project that embraces change. The new Gallery will provide increased space that will support artists and the region’s cultural sector in British Columbia. The project is expected to create an estimated 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs in the tourism sector.
The new Gallery will be the first Passive House art gallery in North America, a voluntary standard for energy efficiency which significantly reduces the building's ecological footprint. With this new facility, the Vancouver Art Gallery demonstrates its commitment to environmental sustainability and proudly acknowledges its location on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
The Vancouver Art Gallery at the Chan Centre for the Visual Arts will be located between Cambie and Beatty streets, with a front entrance on Georgia Street, in downtown Vancouver. It will include over 80,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than double the existing space. In addition, there will be visible art storage, a theatre, library and research centre, artist studios, accommodation for visiting artists, and a visual arts preschool and daycare, situated around a 40,000 square foot courtyard. The building will also house the Institute of Asian Art, a new Centre for Art and Communication, and a multi-purpose Indigenous Community House.
Simon Demeuse (Herzog & de Meuron’s Partner in Charge) says: “The project for the new Vancouver Art Gallery has a civic dimension which can contribute to the life and identity of the city, in which many artists from various cultural backgrounds live and work. The symmetrically stacked building therefore calls for a textured human scaled facade which makes the tall upright structure approachable. A copper-colored woven metal facade protects the wooden soffits and structural elements below; both wood and copper are equally present and visible. The copper skin has a veil-like quality; a texture and lightness which, like traditionally woven textiles, changes its appearance depending on the vantage point of the observer and the time of the day, creating a dynamic visual experience.”
The referencing of copper in the design of the façade is the result of a dialogue with local artists, and stems from the fact that objects made of copper, often elaborately embossed, bent, and colored, carry a powerful message amongst many First Nations peoples of British Columbia.