Conceptual Design

Within the building process the "conceptual phase" is the initial design idea for the building. This is a preliminary stage that is intended to describe the context for the new building within the city, and the character and capacity of the proposed interior and exterior spaces. The rich design offers appealing public spaces, thoughtfully integrated with a unique and compelling building. It is designed to house and display the most significant public collection of art in Western Canada, and to captivate audiences through Gallery exhibitions and programs.

The conceptual design was conceived by Herzog & de Meuron, the design architects for the new Vancouver Art Gallery, working in collaboration with Vancouver-based Perkins + Will as Executive Architect in the realization of the design. Herzog & de Meuron are internationally renowned for their innvotive and elegant buildings and their contribution to the design of contemporary museums.


The Conceptual Design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery

September 30, 2015 to January 24, 2016
This exhibition coincided with the September 29, 2015 unveiling of the conceptual design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. The architectural model, videos and renderings presented in this exhibition revealed an exciting vision for the Gallery's dynamic new presence in Vancouver. Find out more »

"All eyes will be on the Vancouver Art Gallery later this month when it makes one of the biggest announcements in its 84-year history"
- The Vancouver Sun


The Vancouver Art Gallery now stands at the threshold of one of the most exciting moments in our history. After more than a decade of research and planning for a new Gallery, we are moving forward with our vision to create an innovative and inspiring visual art museum that enriches lives and plays a pivotal role in enhancing Vancouver and British Columbia's reputation as a vibrant, creative, and desirable place to live, work and visit.

The new Vancouver Art Gallery will be a purpose-built art museum that creates and strengthens links between artists, contemporary and historical art, and diverse communities throughout the city, province and around the world. The Gallery will tie the past to the present, make visible. Vancouver's connections to other places in the world, and enhance Vancouver's reputation as one of the most important international centres for contemporary art production. There are many steps ahead, but everything we've achieved to date is thanks to the commitment of artists, our members, donors, volunteers and our many other tireless supporters. We thank them, and you for continuing to drive us forward.

The New Vancouver Art Gallery Will:

  • Expand services to the community by dramatically increasing the number and breadth of education and public programs for children, families and adults throughout the region.
  • Enhance Vancouver's internal reputation as a major contemporary art centre Serve as an economic stimulator by creating new employment opportunities and promoting cultural tourism.
  • Strengthen parnterships and increase engagement with the broader community.
  • Strive to become of the most environmentally sustainable art museums in Canada.
  • Serve as a model for operational sustainability through an efficient and revenue-generating new facility.

Our Guiding Principles

  • LET ART LEAD — In every way, we will be committed to artists, the integrity of their work, and to fostering a public dialogue that will cultivate a free exchange of ideas.
  • CELEBRATE PLACE — Our program will situate the local within the context of the global, will foster exchanges between east and west, and will reflect the distinctiveness and vitality of our communities.
  • EMBRACE THE PAST AND OWN THE FUTURE — We are committed to contemporary art and ideas by situating the past in the context of the present, relating visual art to present day culture, and supporting emerging artists.
  • MOBILIZE THE POWER OF THE PUBLIC — Our institution will act as a hub of creativity that will cultivate, develop and disseminate ideas and knowledge to a broad public that reflects the diverse communities in which the Gallery engages.
  • BUILD FOR A DIVERSITY OF ART FORMS — We are committed to presenting a full range of visual art experiences from traditional media to the newest emerging forms of digital expression.
  • DESIGN THE CHANGE — We will adapt at the rate of change around us, promoting risk-taking while ensuring sustainability financially, operationally, environmentally and culturally.


The new Vancouver Art Gallery will be built at the intersection of West Georgia and Cambie streets- two thirds of the Larwill Park site-- a two-acre, city owned parcel just a few blocks east of the Gallery's current home. The City is reserving the rest of the site for future development. This area is a nexus that bridges several important neighborhoods, including downtown area, Chinatown, Gastown and East Vancouver. Like the Gallery, these are areas are steeped in a rich sense of history even as they continue to grow and evolve. Once one of Vancouver's most popular public gathering places, Larwill Park served as a venue for sporting events, travelling shows, political demonstrations and, more recently, spectators at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup.



Larwill Park Site

The Larwill Park site holds a unique place in the history of Vancouver—as a parade ground, a sports field and a fairground, as a site for celebration and for protest. More recently it has been the site of a bus depot and parking lot, and it is now the proposed site of the new Vancouver Art Gallery.

To signal the Vancouver Art Gallery’s impact on the site, which has a history of changing land use, the Gallery has planned a series of public art activities to be mounted at the Larwill Park site over the next three years. The inaugural project directly acknowledges the history of the site by mounting nine large “cut-out” images taken, collage-style, from documentary photographs that refer to the site’s history. These images are the starting point for a new and spectacular vision of the Larwill Park site as a space for the contemporary imagination. The photographic images are printed in distinct Pantone colours; each colour is echoed in the painted surfaces of the back and supporting structures, effectively creating a series of freestanding monochromatic art works. In form, each object mimics a billboard—an invitation to consider yet another imaginative new potential for the site. Each sculpture is placed strategically to address different views of the site. Pedestrian walkways, traffic patterns and views of the condominiums surrounding the existing parking lot are all acknowledged in the placement. The individual images have been chosen to suggest an idiosyncratic past; each cut-out refers to a larger historical context of public engagement on the site, while retaining a strong visual aesthetic.

The Larwill Park Site Inaugural Project is commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery, and is conceived and produced by Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, Vancouver. For more information about the The Larwill Park Site Inaugural Project, click here ».

Meet The architects

Herzog & de Meuron

Established in 1978, Herzog & de Meuron is now a partnership led by five Senior Partners – Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler and Stefan Marbach – with an international team of six Partners, 40 Associates and about 400 collaborators. Herzog & de Meuron are working on projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia. The firm‘s main office is in Basel, Switzerland, with additional offices in Hamburg, London, Madrid, New York City, and Hong Kong. The practice has been awarded numerous prizes including The Pritzker Architecture Prize (USA) in 2001 and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (UK) and the Praemium Imperiale (Japan), both in 2007. In 2014, Herzog & de Meuron were awarded the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.

Herzog & de Meuron have designed a wide range of projects from the small scale of a private home to the large scale of urban design. The studio’s most recognized buildings include the National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China (also known as the Bird’s Nest) and the conversion of the Bankside power plant to Tate Modern in London, UK (2000).

Herzog & de Meuron have completed a series of internationally acclaimed museum buildings. Built projects include Schaulager Basel, Laurenz Foundation, a warehouse for the open storage of contemporary art, in Basel/Mu¨nchenstein, Switzerland (2003); Walker Art Center Expansion in Minneapolis, USA (2005); and de Young Museum in San Francisco, USA (2005). The firm‘s latest completed museums are the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY, USA (2012) and the Pe´rez Art Museum Miami, which opened to the public during Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2013.

Visit the Herzog & de Meuron website »

Perkins + Will

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities. Our thought leaders are developing 21st century solutions to inspire the creation of spaces in which clients and their communities work, heal, live, and learn. With hundreds of award-winning projects annually, Perkins+Will is highly ranked among top global design firms and has been repeatedly named as one of the World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture by Fast Company.

With over 30 years of experience in Canada, the Vancouver office is deeply connected to its local community, donating one percent of its annual fees as in-kind design services to local, non-profit organizations every year. Committed to the 2030 Challenge, the firm is ranked among North America's leading green practices with an in-house sustainability research department and one of the largest portfolios of completed, deeply sustainable buildings, interior spaces and urban plans.

The Vancouver office has received more than 250 design honours, including 6 Governor General's Medals in Architecture, 13 Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Awards in Architecture, the coveted Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Firm of the Year Award, and is consistently named one of Canada's Greenest Employers and one of British Columbia's Top Employers.

Visit the Perkins + Will website »


  • The Movement Begins


    In the late 1990s, we began to indentify the challenges of the renovated Court-house building in which we have operated for more than three decades. In 2001, Kathleen Bartels joined the Gallery as its new director and began the process of exploring the renewal of this important institution. In 2004, we moved forward with a master planning process which concluded that the Gallery required an expected facility of roughly double its current size and that it was unfeasible to expand on the existing site.

  • Momentum Builds


    At the end of 2005, we identified the city-owned block at West Georgia and Cambie Streets as a strong candidate for a new location. The Gallery made its first crucial step towards a new, purpose-built art museum in March 2008 when we received a gift of $50 million from the Province of British Columbia, which has been held by the Gallery in a restricted building fund and earning interest.

  • Location Confirmed


    On April 24, 2013, Vancouver City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Gregor Robertson, voted unanimously to designate the city-owned site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets for a new Vancouver Art Gallery. This historic decision has been lauded by artists and representatives from other arts organizations, tourism associations, donors and community leaders. Mayor Robertson celebrated the Gallery’s plan and spoke about the importance of “placing the arts at the forefront of our city-building.”

  • Architects Selected


    In April, 2014, Vancouver Art Gallery selected Herzog & de Meuron from a group of five shortlisted firms from across the globe following a series of in-depth interviews and site visits to significant projects designed by each firm. The finalists, announced in January 2014, represented five of 75 firms from 16 different countries, who submitted their credentials through an open request for qualifications (RFQ) process issued by the Gallery. The new Vancouver Art Gallery building is Herzog & de Meuron’s first project in Canada, working in collaboration with Vancouver-based Perkins + Will as Executive Architect in the realization of the design.

  • Design Unveiled


    On September 29, 2015 the design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery has been unveiled in a public event at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

  • Groundbreaking Event




JAN 21
SAT 6:30pm

Surrey Art Gallery
13750 88 Avenue, Surrey, B.C.

Surrey Art Gallery

On Saturday, January 21, the Vancouver Art Gallery celebrated the opening of touring exhibition Out of Sight at the Surrey Art Gallery, part of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Across the Province program. The Gallery’s Assistant Curator Stephanie Rebick participated in a dynamic panel discussion about the photography of Eadweard Muybridge and Harold Edgerton, and then, Director of Marketing, Communications & Public Affairs Johanie Marcoux shared plans for the new Vancouver Art Gallery and how it will provide new opportunities for BC artists and an increased capacity for exhibitions shared with partner institutions in our province.

Stephanie Rebick, Out of Sight exhibition curator, Vancouver Art Gallery |
Johanie Marcoux, Director of Marketing, Communications & Public Affairs

OCT 18
TUE 4pm

with reception to follow
Lobby of the Port Theatre
125 Front Street, Nanaimo, BC


Art Makes us SHARE

On Tuesday, October 18th in Nanaimo, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Nanaimo Art Gallery partnered on a special community event. Many gathered to hear acclaimed artist Landon Mackenzie, Vancouver Art Gallery Assistant Curator Stephanie Rebick and Gallery Board Trustee Lisa Turner share plans for a new Vancouver Art Gallery and its latest design developments. The future Gallery will provide new opportunities for BC artists and an increased capacity for exhibitions shared with partner institutions in our province. The event also celebrated Out of Sight, a touring exhibition from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Across the Province program, currently on view at the Nanaimo Art Gallery.

Landon Mackenzie, award-winning artist and Emily Carr professor | Stephanie Rebick, Out of Sight exhibition curator, Vancouver Art Gallery | Lisa Turner, trustee of the Vancouver Art Gallery

THUR 6-8pm

Opening Remarks 6:15pm
At the Larwill Park site, the future
home of the Vancouver Art Gallery


Larwill Park Site Inaugural Project

On September 22, the Gallery celebrated the opening of Ovoidism, by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. This major outdoor art installation is located at Larwill Park, the future home of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

In Ovoidism, the artist uses the ovoid form along with vivid colour to explicitly critique the cultural impact of climate change, land claims, systemic racism, and the legacies of colonialism. The ovoid is a key design element unique to Northwest Coast art. Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is a renowned activist artist of Cowichan (Hul’q’umi’num’ Coast Salish) and Okanagan (Syilx) heritage, whose work merges native iconography with a tenacious political imperative.

Ovoidism, by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, is commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery and produced by Other Sights for Artists’ Projects Larwill Park is located at the intersection of Georgia and Cambie Streets, downtown Vancouver

MAY 12
Kelowna Art Gallery
1315 Water Street
Kelowna BC


Art defines and connects us. Art Makes Us.

On Thursday May 12, 2016, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Kelowna Art Gallery hosted a reception in Kelowna with dignitaries, stakeholders and members of the arts community to hear from a special guest artist and from Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, on plans for a new gallery space in Vancouver. The future Vancouver Art Gallery will provide new opportunities for BC artists and increased capacity for exhibitions that can be shared with partner institutions throughout British Columbia



Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Queen Elizabeth Theatre (649 Cambie St, Vancouver) | 6:30-10pm

Watch now » ART MAKES US

On September 29, 2015, the conceptual design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery by Herzog & de Meuron revealed a rich design with appealing public spaces, thoughtfully integrated with a unique and compelling building. With close to 2,800 in attendance, we were tremendously proud to have welcomed such a wonderful audience!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Orpheum Theatre (601 Smithe Street) | 7:30pm

On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, award winning architect Jacques Herzog delivered a lecture at the Orpheum Theatre to an enthusiastic audience of 2,600 people, sharing the firm's vision of how architecture can shape cities and cultural life.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Vogue Theatre (918 Granville Street) | 7pm

The design architects of the new Vancouver Art Gallery present the vision of their architecture firm and highlights of their previous projects. Hear what makes Herzog & de Meuron one of the world’s most lauded architectural firms as well as their initial impressions about Vancouver, followed by a public discussion.




   #artmakesus | @vanartgallery | #vancouverartgallery

Join the New Gallery Coalition and let’s build the new Vancouver Art Gallery!

Support the Vancouver Art Gallery

Join us now as we present innovative exhibitions, support local and international artists, and build the audiences of tomorrow. Your donation will contribute to a vibrant program of exhibitions and public programs that include artists' talks, FUSE, family activities, school programs and so much more. The generosity of our supporters and their collective passion for the arts continue to fuel the Gallery's ongoing civic dialouge about art and life and its monumental journey towards a new building.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is a not-for-profit organization supported by its members, individual donors, corporate funders, foundations and three levels of government.

The New Gallery Coalition is an online initiative recently created by individuals, associations and businesses dedicated to making the new Vancouver Art Gallery building a reality. The coalition is seeking to highlight the positive cultural and creative impact that the Gallery has across the Province of British Columbia. We are very pleased to see this support from the community! We encourage you to visit the New Gallery Coalition website. Get involved by liking the page on Facebook page or by emailing your local MLA to spark conversation and meaningful participation in this exciting coalition.


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October 15, 2015
New Vancouver Art Gallery will be able to accommodate exhibitions that bypass Vancouver – The Vancouver Sun

October 8, 2015
Herzog & de Meuron: An art gallery that responds to art & Vancouver – The Vancouver Sun

October 1, 2015
Soul amidst the silos: Herzog & de Meuron's Vancouver Art Gallery design - Wallpaper

September 30, 2015
VAG unveils plans for new gallery near the Queen Elizabeth Theatre – The Vancouver Sun

September 29, 2015
VAG design proposal will change the way Vancouver thinks about its architecture – The Globe and Mail

September 29, 2015
Herzog & de Meuron reveals stacked Vancouver Art Gallery design – Design Boom

May 9, 2015
Building a Future for Art in Vancouver–Vancouver Sun

May 7, 2015
New Vancouver Art Gallery site has potential to create new public gathering space, says Jacques Herzog–Georgia Straight

May 6, 2015
Award winning architect Jacques Herzog delivered a lecture sharing the firm’s vision of how architecture can shape cities and cultural life–Orpheum Theatre

March, 2015
Vancouver Art Gallery pumps up the volume with an eight-month look at its proposed collaboration with H&deM–Vancouver Magazine

October 2, 2014
Art Gallery Hailed as ‘Catalyst’ for a Changing Vancouver–Vancouver Sun

October 1, 2014
Christine Binswanger, Senior Partner and Simon Demeuse, Associate, discuss the new building and our future–Vogue Theatre

May 2, 2014
Herzog & de Meuron’s Vancouver Art Gallery will shake up the city–The Globe and Mail

April 29, 2014
Vancouver Art Gallery Names New Building’s Designer–New York Times

April 29, 2014
Photos: Buildings by the architects hired for the new Vancouver Art Gallery–Vancouver Sun

September 6, 2013
Vancouver Art Gallery: architects, start your designs

September 5, 2013
VAG officially seeking architects for new downtown gallery

April 24, 2013
Arts community celebrates as Vancouver city council endorses plan for new gallery–Vancouver Sun

April 24, 2013
City land deal gives green light for a new Vancouver Art Gallery–The Globe and Mail

April 24, 2013
City Council backs plan for VAG’s new home–CBC News

April 18, 2013
Could Vancouver Art Gallery be on the move?–The Province

Press Releases

September 22, 2016
New Installation by First Nations Artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Future Site

May 13, 2016
Vancouver Art Gallery meets Kelowna locals at Community Reception

September 29, 2015
Vancouver Art Gallery Unveils Herzog & de Meuron's Conceptual Design

August 13, 2015
The concept design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery building will be unveiled on September 29, 2015

April 29, 2014
Herzog & de Meuron Selected to Design Vancouver Art Gallery’s New Museum Building

January 9, 2014
Five Architectural Firms Short-Listed for Design of Vancouver Art Gallery’ New Home