A radical new design proposal for the Vancouver Art Gallery was revealed on Tuesday morning, but the funding to the new building has yet to fall into place.

The 310,000-square-foot design, which features a wood exterior, speaks to the city's heritage, Vancouver artist Jeff Wall said at the unveiling on Tuesday morning.

Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron were picked to come up with the new design in 2014.

The new gallery, to be located at West Georgia and Cambie streets in downtown Vancouver, would be roughly as tall as a 20-storey building, but would have seven publicly accessible floors, along with two floors below grade for parking and storage.

The proposed art gallery will have 85,000 sq. feet of exhibition space — more than doubling its current size. It will also feature a new education centre that includes a 350-seat auditorium, library services and archives.

The site, which is currently a parking lot, was donated to the gallery by the city, on the condition that gallery raise the funding for the project.


Larwill Park at Cambie and Georgia Streets in Vancouver will be the home of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (CBC)

The new estimate for the cost of the project is $350 million, including a $50 million endowment for operations, but so far only a fraction of the cost has been raised.

So far the Vancouver Art Gallery board of trustees has committed $23 million to the gallery and the province has committed $50 million.

"It's an unprecedented level of giving and I believe that at this early stage it's the most private money raised ever for a not-for-profit project cultural project in Vancouver," says VAG chair Bruce Munro White.

Herzog & de Meuron's past projects include many high-profile public buildings around the world, including Tate Modern in London and the National Stadium ("Bird's Nest") in Beijing.

Reaction online

The design immediately had its critics and fans on social media. 

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