Vancouver Art Gallery secures $29 million in federal funding for future Herzog & de Meuron house

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Timed right for Canada Day on July 1, the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) announced this week that it will receive C$29 million ($22 million) in federal funding for its new building, which is set to open its doors. doors in 2027. The total sum includes 25 million Canadian dollars ($19 million) in federal funding from Infrastructure Canada through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program, as well as additional funding of 4.3 million Canadian dollars ($3.3 million) from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The new Chan Center for Visual Arts, which is expected to exceed net zero carbon energy standards and feature solar heating, triple-glazed windows and heat pumps, will be the first art gallery built to Passive House standards in North America and, at some 300,000 m², the largest in the world. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, with shimmering skin evoking local Indigenous weaving patterns, it will include a multi-purpose Indigenous community house, theater, public art spaces and programming for marginalized and underserved groups.

The new funding means that, together with private donations, including a C$100 million gift from the Audain Foundation and C$40 million from the Chan Family Foundation, C$270 million of the overall C$400 million budget Canadian dollars ($310 million) were raised. The BC provincial government contributed C$50 million, while the city donated land in a prime downtown location under a 99-year lease.

The significant fundraising progress marks a turning point in an often contentious 15-year campaign to secure a new facility for the VAG, which has outgrown its current space in the former Provincial Courthouse at 750 Hornby Street. There was much public debate about the design, budget and overall concept of the new gallery, and the architects made several revisions. It was originally led by former VAG manager Kathleen Bartelswho stepped down after 17 years at the helm in 2019 after a labor dispute and ongoing issues around the new gallery (she is now director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto).

“Funding from Infrastructure Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage contributes to the resources needed to make the new Vancouver Art Gallery an international leader in environmental sustainability,” gallery director Anthony Kiendl said in a statement. communicated.

He added that the new gallery, which is expected to begin construction early next year, is “on track to be a platform to amplify the voices of local and international artists, indigenous communities and diverse cultures, and will be a community gathering place for people of all ages. , cultures and origins to meet and share ideas.”

Government funding for major museum projects in British Columbia can be a contentious issue. Earlier this month, plans to completely demolish and rebuild the Royal BC Museum in the provincial capital, Victoria, to the tune of C$789 million ($609 million) were scrapped amid outcry over the project price.

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