Adaptive reuse and transformation of AGO

Once again, the discussion on what the Vancouver Art Gallery should do to expand its exhibition space has arisen in the City. A recent announcement that Sears will be vacating its current building across the street from the VAG has rekindled hopes that the gallery might consider expanding into this space. The Cesar Pelli designed building is an “introverted box” says local architect Bing Thom, “but you don’t have to throw it away.” So with some creative design ideas, it could become a new, expanded cultural heart for Vancouver.

This immediately made me think about the transformation and expansion of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Architect and Toronto native, Frank Gehry, envisioned a brilliant reuse of existing buildings on the gallery site. The beautiful and provocative design should be something that the VAG take into consideration. Here are some photographs of before and after.

Grange Park, Ontario College of Art, 1922 (City of Toronto Archives)

The Grange before 1940 (City of Toronto Archives)

The Grange, 1992 (City of Toronto Archives)

AGO Tower from Grange Park, Frank Gehry design (AGO website)

AGO Tower from Grange Park (Wikimedia Commons)

AGO Tower from Beverley Street (Google Streetview)

Sculpture Court, 1929 (City of Toronto Archives)

Baroque Stair in AGO, Frank Gehry design (AGO website)

AGO model, Dundas and Beverley (AGO website)

Dundas and Beverley (Google Streetview)

Existing building behind new facade (Google Streetview)

New facade on AGO (Wikimedia Commons)

Can you think of other successful adaptive reuse projects?

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