Skip to content

“The Mat” – Tony Osborn’s unsolicited proposal for the VAG

January 29, 2013

Tony Osborn wants to start a conversation about “an opportunity to deliver Vancouver much more than a solitary museum” – the Vancouver Art Gallery – than the current proposal for the Larwill Park site:


Mat 1


Tony noticed a particularly interesting coincidence: a city-owned site of even larger size but much more intriguingly placed:

Mat 2


His amply-illustrated brief – which you can find here – makes the case for siting the VAG here as the loops of the Granville Bridge are removed and the surrounding lands rebuilt:

Mat 4


The result: spectacular.

Mat 3


Opportunities for not just the gallery but also other city facilities as well as a bike station, cafes, theatres and an amazing public square and sculpture garden – not to mention a knock-out entrance to the downtown and the revitalization of lower Granville Street.

Check it out.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim permalink
    January 29, 2013 4:20 pm

    Pretty sweet concept, I especially like the gold balloon poodle.

  2. Andrew Browne permalink
    January 29, 2013 5:13 pm

    Problem #1 – This won’t generate $100 million + for the City. Fatal.

    • Richard permalink
      January 29, 2013 10:49 pm

      The city could get its $100 million from Larwell Park instead.

  3. octavio permalink
    January 29, 2013 5:14 pm


  4. January 29, 2013 5:39 pm

    Thought you might be interested in this post Alex. Ian

  5. January 29, 2013 6:14 pm

    I have never liked Larwill Park as the site for the VAG but fell in love with this idea immediately! It’s a great vision and a wonderful fit!
    Thanks for sharing it with us Gordon!

  6. Richard permalink
    January 29, 2013 10:47 pm

    Very interesting idea. I find the Larwill Park plan very uncreative and just about the most boring idea ever.

    One option would be to have an open ideas competition. This would create a lot of excitement and build buy in from more people.

  7. January 29, 2013 10:48 pm

    If you think, that a building rooftopcan make “an amazing public square” and that the best “revitalization of lower Granville Street” is to put it into a man made tunnel, a la 800 Smythe style, which everyone know is a wonderfull place…then well, I guess the result can be called “spectacular”, especially when the architect didn’t forget to throw some goodies to the cyclists

    And the good point is that the building could be as well a Superstore, a casino, or an airport terminal…so I guess architecturally, it is very Vancouver ish.

    If you think, the proposal not only fails to address the streets, all the streets, but also ruin them (ruin the majestic perspective on Granville street) and fails to address the complexity of the site, more importantly the articulation of Granville and Pacific Bld, which should be offered inviting connection, to nutrure, each other, then you will be a bit less dythirambic, and may be Tim is right, the best thing to cheer about is the gold balloon poodle

    That was for the negative side.

    the positive, is obviously the site. A definitely much better option that Larwill park (even may be better than the Canada post building), the main reason is the “knock-out entrance to the downtown”, and associated bold statement the city can make on its values.

    Definitely an important site, and a great contribution for this reason, but if you want a spectacular result, architects will have lot more work to do there….

    and no I kept unmoved by the giant poddle and the promise of the bike rack…

    Ps: it is also worth to mention the unsolicited proposal of Michael Green, especially its proposal on the Granville Bridge, which can find an articulation with the proposel site by Tony Osborn.

    • Richard permalink
      January 29, 2013 11:56 pm

      Great spaces are created by breaking the urban design “rules”. In fact, slavishly following the rules is a sure way to create a really boring city.

      • ras permalink
        February 1, 2013 10:59 am

        voony is right: find me an non-street-level plaza that works. this would just be another empty windswept place like the QE plaza, the sunken and raised parts of Robson Square, that ugly space at the north end of Granville and similar 70’s monstrosities around the city. Just say no.

  8. January 30, 2013 8:11 am

    Tony Osborne has forgotten three things….location, location, location!:-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,418 other followers

%d bloggers like this: