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Monday, September 26, 2022

Granville Loops could have been perfect for new VAG

The City of Vancouver’s rezoning application for the Granville Loops has caused a stir, with some in the local urbanist community decrying the lack of public space in the redevelopment plans.

The city’s plan, covered extensively here on urbanYVR, calls for the removal of the loops connecting to and from the Granville Street Bridge, and subdivision of the property into four parcels. 

Highlighted buildings are over 150 feet
Highlighted buildings are over 150 ft. high. Podium heights range between 30 and 70 feet throughout the area. Credit: City of Vancouver

There will be four new residential towers, with a mix of market condominiums, rental housing, social housing, ground-floor retail and a daycare. A new street network will also be created to connect Continental and Rolston streets to Pacific, and Neon Street to Granville, with a new signalled intersection on the north end of the bridge deck.

The tallest towers will be 40 storeys (A and D in the diagram above), with the two towers closest to the bridge deck reaching 27 storeys. 

Gateway view of Granville Loops Rezoning Area
Gateway view of Granville Loops Rezoning Area. Credit: City of Vancouver

The plan for the removal and redevelopment of the Loops has been in the works for over a decade, and the site was once being considered as a location for a new Vancouver Aquatic Centre, as well as other civic facilities.

In 2013, just as the Vancouver Art Gallery was about to decide on its new home, architect Tony Osborn of TOAD Design unveiled a bold concept for the Granville Loops property. 

The unsolicited concept called for a large, public square that would connect to the Granville Street Bridge greenway, a new home for the Vancouver Art Gallery, a sculpture park, bike hub, theatre, classrooms, administration space and several cafés.

Granville Loops Vancouver Art Gallery
Rendering of a new Vancouver Art Gallery on the Granville Loops property, looking southeast, with The Mark tower on the left, and Vancouver House on the right. Credit: TOAD Design
Granville Loops Vancouver Art Gallery
Rendering of a new Vancouver Art Gallery on the Granville Loops property, looking south towards Vancouver House. Credit: TOAD Design
Granville Loops Vancouver Art Gallery
Conceptual program for the Granville Loops with a new location for the Vancouver Art Gallery. Credit: TOAD Design

The “Welcome Mat” concept was never submitted formally to the Vancouver Art Gallery or the city, but it remains as a reminder of what could have been on the site.

The Vancouver Art Gallery instead decided to move to West Georgia and Cambie Street on the Larwill Park site (currently a surface parking lot), in a new, Passive House building designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Fundraising for the project continues and it’s unclear when the new gallery will break ground.

New Vancouver Art Gallery day
Design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery at Cambie and West Georgia Street. Credit: Vancouver Art Gallery

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meisznerhttps://www.peterforvancouver.com/
📢 I am running for Vancouver City Council with A Better City (ABC) and Ken Sim! Visit peterforvancouver.com for more information.

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