Frances Bula header image 2

The problem with the VAG moving to Larwill Park? City needs $50 million profit there

March 7th, 2010 · 5 Comments

The ongoing saga of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s efforts to get more space and/or move to another site have been going on for years, starting sometime in the 90s. (There’s a wild conceptual image from that early era of the plan to double the gallery’s space at the existing location, which you can find on this site.)

The issue has flared up again with the news that the VAG has turned down a site on False Creek announced by the premier two years ago and has now re-opened negotiations to move to the empty block next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

This was a story all week. The latest complication I discovered on Friday was that the city has already committed to using $48 million of the development profits from the site (most if not all of them) to pay for the QE Theatre renovation that happened in the past couple of years. More details on this confusing tale here.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Lewis N. Villegas

    “Art museums are not generally built in skyscrapers,” relocation committee chair Michael Audain said. “And I think that we do need a certain amount of area … a minimum of three acres in order to interest an architect to produce something on a lower-rise scale which will meet the functional needs of an art museum and at the same time be visually important.”

    The second time that MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, NYC) closed down was to build a condo tower on its small-footprint site in order to reap the financial rewards.

    So, while MoMA may not be “built in a skyscraper” it’s scraped right up to one.

  • MB

    The feds bailed out GM last year to the tune of $7,000,000,000. The province is building a freeway network with $6,000,000,000 of public money (the private partner bailed on Gateway last year).

    This in the age — and premier’s much vaunted rhetoric — of peak oil and climate change.

    Is it that painful to suggest an investment in culture costing a maximum of 1/15th to 1/18th of these amounts be made?

    Further, a new art gallery / museum could achieve a LEEDS platinum (or equivalent) rating in sustainability, last more than a century, draw millions of people to Vancouver, and help build a city for humans.

    Can the same be said about a freeway or a Blazer?

  • Picking up on your G&M piece . . . Frances . . .

    “”Art museums are not generally built in skyscrapers,” relocation committee chair Michael Audain said. “And I think that we do need a certain amount of area … a minimum of three acres in order to interest an architect to produce something on a lower-rise scale which will meet the functional needs of an art museum and at the same time be visually important.”‘

    Michael Audain is the last person to be commenting on this! “three acres” eh! The man has spent his life fouling the landscape with his ticky-tacky sprawl and thinqxz he can comment on a cultural affairs.

    ” . . . to interest an architect” eh! What on earth is this ridiculous little man talking about? You can interest any architect, on any site, on any project just by brandishing your cheque book!

    Good grief, from where the hell do we drag these people up? What is a man like that sitting on the art gallery board anyway? Oh, of course: money! Figures! That’s the “Bimboville” way.

    And then there is the matter of the Sullivan council pre-empting the sale of a valuable piece of downtown land so as to paint up the bathrooms in an old decrepit theatre! That was a very foolish move.

    Get over the grand ideas: we are in for the sequel to the double dip big W: the hall is going to need all the resources it can muster to avoid firing everyone: including the over paid lady who should be delivering babies.

    The next big surprise for this bicycling council is to wake up and smell the spilt, stale coffee: they thinq C$40M will cover the Play house . . . wait ’til uncle Bobby tries to sell OV!

    And thanqu very much: VAG is okay. Get over the grandios ideas. Leave that wonderfully appropriate reminder of our heritage, that gracefully functional work of art, where it is . . . as is!

  • PS

    “three acres” indeed!

    Go look at the Vatican Mr. Audain.

    Check that out for economy of space use . . . but . . . but . . . but . . . more importantly appreciate how close proximity enhances the viewing experience.

    Unless of course you are a scholar carting around your X-ray equipment . . . try to understand ambience, spatial proximity in the appreciation of art . . .

  • MB

    48 mil could be raised in less than five years in a normal economy from the proven technique called density bonuses. A substantial portion of the construction costs could be raised within 10 years using the same method.

    The city planners will have to adjust putting more density amenity funds toward culture. That’s not such a bitter pill, is it Brent?

    Those who are uncomfortable with developers, corporations and rich guys getting directly involved in cultural facilities (please — no Save On Foods art galleries!) may find their indirect involvement through funding from density bonuses more palatable. This also lessens the amount of public money being put directly into the project.

    And WRT Lewis’ take on towers (descibed in other posts), density bonuses don’t necessarily have to be applied exclusively to the high rise downtown, but could apply to one and two storey additions to low and mid rises, and to increased numbers of units within low rise developments in the rest of the city. I can even see HSU (Human Scaled Urbanism) principles being developed in such a measure.

    Food for thought.