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Hovering, gleaming, framing the city of Vancouver, presenting a curated stream of photography and media art, reflecting the sky, flooded with northern light:
The Polygon Gallery.

Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Area: 22,600 sq ft
Client: Presentation House Gallery
Date: 2013 – 2017

Awards:

2021 – AIA Architecture Award

2020 – Governor General’s Medal in Architecture

2019 – Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Medal in Architecture

Hovering, gleaming, framing the city of Vancouver, presenting a curated stream of photography and media art, reflecting the sky, flooded with northern light:
The Polygon Gallery.

Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Area: 22,600 sq ft
Client: Presentation House Gallery
Date: 2013 – 2017

Awards:

2021 – AIA Architecture Award

2020 – Governor General’s Medal in Architecture

2019 – Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Medal in Architecture

The Polygon Gallery is the rebirth of Presentation House Gallery, which has been a passionately independent photography and media institution in North Vancouver for more than forty years. More site-maker than site response, the building stands at the front of urban waterfront renewal where infrastructure is reimagined and culture outgrows an industrial past. The Gallery asserts its significance in the social and cultural life of North Vancouver, striking a figure of dauntless rejuvenation.

The main mass of the building is lifted from the ground plane to provide open access to both a new public plaza and a wide view of the Vancouver skyline across Burrard Inlet. Its iconic saw-toothed profile is clad in layers of mirrored stainless steel beneath expanded metal decking. The interplay between the two materials gives the singular mass an ephemeral depth that shifts with seasonal sunlight and evening atmosphere.

Gallery Director, Reid Shier requested gallery space free of obstacles, with floors and walls that can be cut into, ceilings from which anything could be hung in any position, access to power and media anywhere, lighting that can be natural or controlled. The main gallery is thus conceived as a ready instrument for creativity, more studio than museum. The structural musculature of the building performs the dual purposes of lifting the gallery and providing a clear space, completely daylit from above with diffuse northern light, or darkened. A system of steel purlins provide track for lighting, data, media, suspended works, and temporary partitions. The robust and easily patched oak flooring features a continuous central channel for ventilation, electrical, and data chases that give ready access to freestanding works and temporary partitions of any configuration.

The upper level also contains a large flexible event gallery for education, outreach, and private functions. Its entire southern wall is an operable glazed panorama overlooking Burrard Inlet and Vancouver. In addition to the fully glazed entrance and lobby, the lower level supports small retail spaces, to help diversify waterfront development, and a café that shares the expansive southern view. These fine-grained street level uses make the building an attractor for the growing social life on the city’s waterfront and share the energy of the Gallery with the public space. The plaza, so activated by the Gallery, provides a new cultural node for North Vancouver, reinforcing a sense of local identity for a small city that neighbours a larger and more prominent one.

Architect: Patkau Architects Inc.
Project Team: John Patkau, Patricia Patkau with Peter Suter
Mike Green, Jackie Ho, Marc Holland, and Haley Zhou

Consultants
Structural: Fast & Epp Structural Engineers
Mechanical / Electrical: Integral Group
Acoustic: Dan Lyzun and Associates
Code: LMDG
Construction: Turnbull Construction Services Ltd

Images: Patkau Architects

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