The Vancouver Art Gallery has short-listed five architectural firms as finalists for the design of its new home in downtown Vancouver. Selected from a pool of 75 firms representing 16 countries, the suitably impressive list includes Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York), Herzog & de Meuron (Basel), KPMB Architects (Toronto), SANAA (Tokyo), and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (New York).
According to a press release, architects were invited to submit their credentials through an open request for qualifications (RFQ) process issued by the Vancouver Art Gallery in September 2013, following the Vancouver City Council’s unanimous approval to designate the city-owned site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets for the new Gallery. The Gallery’s Architect Selection Committee evaluated firms based on their ability to address the principal goals and objectives of the building project: to create an architecturally significant visual art museum that places prominence on artists and art and that celebrates the rich cultural context of Vancouver. Each submission was also assessed by a Technical Review Panel—a team of experts in architecture, design, and urban planning—who shared their findings with the selection committee. The Gallery will conduct in-person interviews with each of the finalists in the coming months and expects to be able to announce the final architect in spring 2014.
“The architects short-listed for the design of our new home collectively reflect the global aspirations and achievements of our museum,” said Bruce Munro Wright, Chair of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Architect Selection Committee. “Each firm we selected is recognized for innovation and excellence in creating new spaces for engagement with arts and culture, and each demonstrated a strong and creative architectural vision that would support our mission and enhance Vancouver’s standing as one of the most exciting international centres of cultural production.”
The finalists include the following five firms:
• KPMB Architects is considered one of Canada’s leading architectural studios and has led the design for major cultural public projects throughout the country, including Canada’s National Ballet School, the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and the Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto, as well as the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. Its work has been honoured with twelve Governor General Medals, Canada’s highest honour for architecture, and has been recognized internationally by the American Institute of Architects, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the Urban Land Institute.
• Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is an interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. Based in New York City, DS+R is led by three partners: Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro. Completed projects include: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, including the redesign and expansion of the Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall, and the School of American Ballet; the High Line, an urban park situated on an obsolete elevated railway stretching 1.5 miles long through New York; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, the first new museum to be built in Boston in 100 years. Projects in progress include: the Broad Art Museum in Los Angeles; the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro; the MoMA Expansion in New York City; and Culture Shed in New York’s Hudson Yards Development. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio were the first architects to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, awarded for their commitment to integrating architecture with issues of contemporary culture.
• Herzog & de Meuron are known for designs that are sensitive to the site, geography, and cultural context creating projects that are highly specific to their place and program brief, from small-scale private projects to large-scale public and cultural facilities. Recent and notable projects include: the Tate Modern in London; the Schaulager in Basel; the de Young Museum in San Francisco; the Pérez Art Museum Miami; and M+ in Hong Kong. Led by five Senior Partners—Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler, and Stefan Marbach—and based in Basel, Switzerland, the firm has been awarded The Pritzker Architecture Prize, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, and the Praemium Imperiale.
• SANAA is a Tokyo-based collaborative office, founded by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. With all projects based on careful study of the context, program, and client objectives, their works range in scale from master planning, to educational and cultural facilities, to product and furniture design. Recent and notable projects include: Louvre-Lens Museum in France; the Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland; New Museum in New York; the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan. SANAA has been awarded The Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Golden Lion, and the Prize of the Architectural Institute of Japan, among other awards.
• Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects is a New York-based firm providing architectural, master planning, urban design, and interior design services to municipal, institutional, and private clients in the United States and abroad, with a particular focus on buildings for museums, schools, and non-profits. Notable projects include: the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia; the American Folk Art Museum in New York; The Phoenix Art Museum; the Asia Society in Hong Kong; and the new US Embassy Compound in Mexico City. Williams and Tsien are recipients of awards such as the 2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Brunner Award, and the New York City AIA Medal of Honor, among others.