The Vancouver Art Gallery response in quotes: politicians, designers herald bold new building

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      This morning (September 29), the Vancouver Art Gallery unveiled plans for a daring new building that’s proposed for the intersection of Georgia and Cambie streets. Here’s what some of the architects, politicians, and VAG officials had to say about the project amid the press announcement.

      Architect Jacques Herzog: “The urbanistic concept is based on the contrast between the low-rise framing along the street block and the taller and more sculptural building in the middle of an open and accessible garden and square. The low-rise wooden building along the street is inspired by how the streets in Vancouver were built in earlier times.  The modest, almost domestic scale will enhance the character of openness and visibility for everyone.”

      Christine Binswanger, Partner in Charge for the Gallery project, at Herzog & de Meuron: "It will be a powerful statement to construct this large building out of wood, a material with a long tradition in British Columbia."

      Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels: “It has been a long-held dream of the Gallery to have a home that can fully accommodate our exceptional collection and growing audiences. We worked rigorously with the City of Vancouver and the architects on a master plan for the new Gallery and have been privileged to have the involvement of artists in our process from the very beginning—helping to shape a plan of action that would achieve all our goals. 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. Over the past 15 years, our collection has grown by more than 250 percent, attendance has increased 350 percent and membership has increased by 300 percent. The conceptual design for the downtown building responds brilliantly and efficiently to the changing needs of our institution and our community.”

      Herzog & de Meuron's conceptual design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery.
      Vancouver Art Gallery

      Bruce Munro Wright, chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery's Board of Trustees: “The conceptual design presented by Herzog & de Meuron will give the citizens of British Columbia, and all who visit, an unparalleled experience of art that can only happen here. We would not be where we are today without the incredible initial support we have received from the Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver’s generous designation of the Larwill Park site. I believe that the new Vancouver Art Gallery will be an essential destination and our generation’s legacy for the future.”

      Peter Fassbender, B.C. Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development: "This is an exciting time for the Vancouver Art ‎Gallery, as plans for the new building continue to progress. We are all proud of the role the Vancouver Art Gallery plays in promoting and supporting art and artists in British Columbia today and appreciate the leadership responsibilities it has with respect to the future of the arts community in the province."

      A courtyard features overhangs to shelter from the rain and a shade-loving sunken garden that can be seen from windows below the surface.
      Vancouver Art Gallery

      Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson: “A new, innovative, and expanded Vancouver Art Gallery represents a truly historic opportunity to support our booming creative city and to keep elevating how we showcase the world-renowned local artists who call Vancouver and BC their home. This inspiring design represents another crucial step forward in our work together to see a new Vancouver Art Gallery built that reflects the full diversity, vibrancy and creativity of this city, and makes a landmark contribution to the rich cultural character of downtown Vancouver.”

      Follow Janet Smith on Twitter @janetsmitharts.