Details of initial design plans for the Village’s incoming Audain Art Museum were revealed at Tuesday’s (Jan. 22) council meeting, and according to Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, the new facility could turn some heads.
“It’s completely different from what I expected it to be,” she said. “I think the rationale and the thinking that’s gone into it is really interesting. It’s simple and it’s elegant.”
The plans from award-wining Vancouver firm Patkau Architects were unveiled as part of municipal staff’s request to council to initiate a rezoning application for the site on RMOW-controlled land between Day Lots 3 and 4 to permit an art museum and auxiliary uses, like a gift shop, café and caretaker suite.
The design plans followed museum founder Michael Audain’s wish to house the two-storey facility in a “park-like setting” by angling the building in such a way that minimizes its impact on the surrounding vegetation.
“It’s very respectful in its siting of the trees on the site. It’s a big building, but my sense of it is that it’s going to fit very nicely into that location,” said Wilhelm-Morden.
The east side of the building will have a glassed-in corridor from floor to ceiling, while the west side of the facility, which would house the gallery, will contain no natural light at the recommendation of a prominent Vancouver curator.
Patkau Architects also factored the muni’s commitment to evolving a cultural hub in the Village into their preliminary design plans, with a bridge connecting the museum entrance to Blackcomb Way.
“(The museum) nicely straddles the interface between the Village and Lost Lake Park and also continues that cultural precinct over to and including the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre,” said Wilhelm-Morden. “You walk from the bridge into this big porch area and then down some stairs and out into what I believe they’re calling a sculpture meadow and then through the street and onto the path and over to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. It’s fantastic.”
Minimal parking will be provided onsite, and representatives of the museum have asked the RMOW to provide a statement and rationale for how parking and traffic concerns will be addressed near the facility.
It is expected that the municipality will enter into a 199-year lease with the museum, requiring the relocation of an RMOW maintenance shop. Hopes are that ground can be broken on the site this spring.
An open house is scheduled for the public on Wednesday (Jan. 30) from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Millennium Place, where the full design plans for the facility can be viewed.
The public will be consulted on the facility and its design through the ongoing rezoning process.
The museum will be home to real estate magnate Audain’s vast collection of West Coast Aboriginal art and works from contemporary B.C. artists like Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes.