The Vancouver Art Gallery was founded in 1931, and was then located at 1145 West Georgia Street. The 165,000 square-foot building was designed by Francis Rattenbury in 1905. The beautiful neoclassical building includes Ionic columns, formal porticos, a central dome, and ornate stonework. Rattenbury also designed the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, as well as the Empress Hotel in Victoria.
In 1983, VAG moved to its current Hornby Street location, formerly the home of Vancouver's provincial courthouse. Vancouver architect, Arthur Erickson, designed the renovations at a cost of $20 million, as part of his three city-block 'Robson Square complex'. But some twenty years later, it became evident that the gallery had outgrown its space.
The VAG Gets a New Home
In November 2007, the Vancouver Art Gallery announced plans to move to a new building to be built at Larwill Park, formerly the site of the Greyhound bus depot. The next seven years were spent obtaining funding. In April 2014, the firm of Herzog & de Meuron was chosen to design the new building, which will be the firm's first project built in Canada.
The building is projected to be a 300,000 square-foot concrete-and-steel structure, with wood and glass at courtyard buildings. The expanded floor space is nearly double the current space the art gallery now occupies. The new building, however, will not be called the Vancouver Art Gallery. Instead, with an injection of $40M from the city’s Chan family, the 88-year-old institution will be getting a new name: The Chan Centre for the Visual Arts. The building is expected to be ready for its grand opening sometime in 2023.
My dream is to, one day, walk into Vancouver's new art gallery and see some of my own paintings on display there. Until then, though, I invite you to visit my own gallery, SamsOriginalArt, located in the Armoury District of Kitsilano.