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Art gallery under the gun to get new site and fast, says board

March 10th, 2010 · 59 Comments

The Vancouver Art Gallery’s efforts to move to a new site, with a landmark building double the size of where it is now, are going to be a fascinating show of its own in the next few months.

This is one of those epic stories that happen to cities only every so often, as one group or another launches a major effort to remake a neighbourhood, create a grand new institution or take the city in a new direction. Our neighbours to the south of us in Seattle have been doing quite a bit of cultural monument building in the last couple of decades — library, art gallery, theatre, music museum —  thanks to a lot of Microsoft money floating around.

But we really haven’t had a big debate over a cultural building since the new central library was built. The art gallery promises to generate that kind of heated discussion and more, as it lobbies for the land and, if that’s successful, runs a no-doubt international architectural competition to get a design for the new building.

Here’s my latest info on the gallery move, after a lengthy interview Monday with the heavy hitters there. And, just randomly, I found this story elsewhere about the mistake one architecture critic thinks the Seattle Art Museum made by agreeing to co-exist with an office tower in downtown Seattle — something that the city is pushing the local gallery to do on its 150 Dunsmuir site, rather than taking over the whole block for itself.

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