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Exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery showcases design philosophy of Herzog & de Meuron
Left to right: Senior partners: Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler and Stefan Marbach, with Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog. ©Tobias Madorin/Herzog de Meuron.

VANCOUVER, BC.- Vancouver Art Gallery is presenting an exhibition featuring the work of renowned Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, the design architects of the new Vancouver Art Gallery building. Material Future, The Architecture of Herzog & de Meuron and the Vancouver Art Gallery provides an in-depth look at this Pritzker Prize-winning firm’s design philosophy through a selection of their projects, including significant and inspirational museums and galleries from around the world. A portion of the exhibition focuses on the planning, design and building process for the future Vancouver Art Gallery, including the groundwork completed prior to Herzog & de Meuron being selected as the design architects. With much anticipation, the conceptual design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery building will be unveiled in late spring, and will become part of the exhibition after the unveiling.

“It has been a remarkable journey since last April when we started working closely with Herzog & de Meuron on the conceptual design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery building. This exhibition charts the history and the trajectory of the Gallery’s future growth, and it is an exciting prelude to the unveiling of the conceptual design of the new building.” said Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Gallery. “Every step of the way, Herzog & de Meuron have demonstrated their commitment to this landmark project that will act as a catalyst for the City of Vancouver and beyond. Their research on Vancouver and British Columbia has been impressive, including extensive travel throughout the province and significant time spent with Gallery stakeholders, including many artists.”

Herzog & de Meuron are internationally renowned for their contribution to the design of contemporary architecture. Their attention to materials, site and context has defined a practice that is astonishingly subtle and complex. Material Future provides an opportunity to look closely at the design of some of their key buildings realized during the past 25 years, including the Tate Modern and its new addition in London, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Schaulager in Basel and the National Stadium in Beijing, as well as projects currently in progress, such as M+, a new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong.

Material Future is being presented through three key components: an introduction to the new Vancouver Art Gallery building project includes functional plan, new site, role of the design architects, their process, and next steps; a study space focuses on the architectural strategies and thinking process of Herzog & de Meuron with a display of archive materials and objects along with a selection of monographs; and a projection room presents views of key built projects of the firm with an emphasis on activities, space, materials, and people. In addition, an informative display also has been set up in the Gallery lobby to engage visitors and to provide ongoing context, plans and status of the future Gallery.

In the 85th year since its inception, the Vancouver Art Gallery has grown and expanded at a considered pace. Responding to the needs of the citizens of this city, region and province as well as the Gallery’s significant collection of more than 11,000 artworks, the Vancouver Art Gallery has engaged in a measured program of relocation. Through an extensive master planning process initiated in 2004, the need for a building of approximately 320,000 square feet was determined, and subsequently the city-owned site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets was identified as the optimal location. In April 2013, the Vancouver City Council unanimously approved this site to be dedicated for a new, purpose-built Gallery. In September 2013, the Gallery launched an international Request for Qualification (RFQ) that attracted 75 firms representing 16 countries, and five firms were shortlisted. In spring 2014, Herzog & de Meuron were selected based on the firm’s proven ability to create innovative museum buildings that place prominence on artists and institutional mission, and the firm’s vision for the new Gallery, which recognizes and responds to the context and needs of the Gallery now and in the future. Herzog & de Meuron were appointed to design the future Vancouver Art Gallery building in collaboration with the Vancouver firm Perkins+Will as the local executive architects.

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