The Vancouver Art Gallery revealed renderings of its new building this week, an amazing sculpture clad in wood that will house the museum’s vast collection within a few years. Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron has been working since 2014 on the design for the art space, which will be located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The new building will span 310,000 square feet, including 85,000 square feet of exhibition space—more than doubling its current size—with 40,000 square feet of additional galleries.
In addition to the art space, the building’s seven above-ground floors will also be home to a 350-seat theatre, a library, and an education center. Two additional levels of underground parking will also be created to maximize space efficiency in the crowded downtown corridor. The building design also includes additional space for future expansions.
The stacked design of the art gallery is quite unique. The first two ground-level floors will be mostly transparent, in an attempt to engage pedestrians at the street level. The upper levels will be constructed in varying footprints, giving a wildly unusual look as compared with neighboring glass-and-steel office buildings. Essentially, the building which is meant to house all manner of works of art will also itself be a sculptural piece.
Upon completion, the Vancouver Art Gallery will be one of few tall wooden buildings in the timber-rich region of British Columbia. This design element is becoming more of a trend in the area, as architects and builders lean more toward natural building materials and the growth of an organic cityscape.
“British Columbia will now have a building that matches the ambition of the outstanding
artists who live and work here. Herzog & de Meuron’s buildings not only effectively and elegantly meet the needs of their users; they also become places that are part of the cultural DNA of a city. The architects have worked closely with the Gallery to conceive an elegant, accessible building that puts art and our community first, and we are thrilled with the result,” said Kathleen Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
The project is expected to break ground in 2017 and be completed by 2020.
Images via Herzog & de Meuron