Five architectural firms have been short-listed by the Vancouver Art Gallery for the design of its future home planned for Larwill Park.
The five firms were chosen following an open request for qualifications process issued in September 2013, from a pool of 75 candidates.
The finalists are Diller Scofidio + Renfro from New York City, Herzog & de Meuron from Basel, Switzerland, KPMB Architects from Toronto, SANAA from Tokyo, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects from New York.
Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels called the announcement of the short-listed candidates "a significant moment" in the gallery's plans for a new facility.
"We’re just really excited that we’re at this stage," she told the Straight by phone. "It’s been part of a long process, and there’s a lot of process ahead, but this is certainly an important step, and to be able to then select a design firm in the spring will be critically important."
Last April, Vancouver city council voted unanimously in favour of leasing the Larwill Park site at Cambie and Georgia streets for a new, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery.
That lease is conditional on the art gallery securing $100 million from the federal government and $50 million from the province by April 30, 2015. The new facility is expected to cost between $300 and $350-million.
Bartels said the art gallery will not be making a formal request to senior governments until it is further along in the design phase of the new facility.
"The launch of the public side of the campaign, that won’t happen for some time," she said. "A critical aspect of that is engaging the design architect...people can actually see what it might look like, and then of course you think of naming opportunities."
The 75 submissions received by the gallery came from 16 countries, including seven Canadian firms and three from Vancouver. Bartels noted the five finalists have all done major museum projects.
“I think all of them show outstanding design leadership and the highest achievement in design when you look at their projects," she said.
Some of the candidates' design projects include the Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts in New York by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Tate Modern in London by Herzog & de Meuron, the Gardiner Museum in Toronto by KPMB Architects, the Louvre-Lens Museum in France by SANAA , and the American Folk Art Museum in New York by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
The art gallery will complete in-person interviews with each of the short-listed candidates, and is expected to announce the final architect this spring.