Vancouver Art Gallery Move: Proposal Imagines 'Welcome Mat' For Downtown

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A proposal for the Vancouver Art Gallery envisions a plaza and bike hub for the foot of the Granville Street Bridge. (Tony Osborn Architects) | Tony Osborn Architects

The Vancouver Art Gallery could be rebuilt as a "welcome mat" for downtown if one architecture firm gets its way. The gallery has outgrown its space, leading many people to float ideas on where it should go next.

Vancouver-based Tony Osborn Architects has released what it calls an "unsolicited" online proposal for a new gallery to be located at the foot of the Granville Street Bridge.

"The search for a new home for the Vancouver Art Gallery is a historic opportunity for this city," says the elaborate proposal which envisions a new gallery and plaza that would be Vancouver's biggest public space with a bike hub and public art.

It draws inspiration from Chicago's Millennium Park, which was installed atop a car park and rail lines.

"A failure of imagination makes it impossible to be bold," the proposal states. "Once the potential in an opportunity has been glimpsed, it is difficult to accept anything less."

The idea comes as condo king and art aficionado Bob Rennie proposes that part of the gallery move to the downtown Canada Post building, CBC News reported on Wednesday.

Rennie has always supported splitting up the art gallery into several exhibition spaces around the city to allow more community access.

Rennie envisions the gallery taking up 60,000 sq. ft. of the Canada Post building while the rest would be taken up by retail and condo space. The building was recently sold to a Victoria investment firm, which has not finalized its development plans.

The City of Vancouver has reserved land for a new gallery at Cambie and West Georgia but $300 million still needs to be raised for construction to go ahead, said CBC.

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