Seizing upon the cultural zeitgeist along Great Northern Way, the Equinox Gallery, a former South Granville stalwart, represents a mission to engage in a much larger conversation about contemporary art. The project space allows Equinox to operate at a scale often reserved for larger public galleries and museums.
The gallery owner wanted space that could afford the democratic viewing of multiple exhibitions and the staging of simultaneous private-gallery events while also fulfilling the functional requirements of day-to-day operations. For Measured, Equinox was a return to our roots of designing and building cultural institutions, as we did in our apprenticeships.
After discussions with the client about how their business worked, we reconstructed the industrial space to provide democracy of space, allowing the organization to support two shows simultaneously. We also brought the administrative component of the gallery to an on-display space so that individuals could continue to work while visitors circulated through the gallery.”
Industrial spaces like this are a rarity in Vancouver, so interest remains in retaining remnants from their previous life. In this case, a 14,500-SF former Finning plant houses apparatus for hanging and painting heavy-duty Caterpillar machinery. The roof is a soaring 25-ft high so creating a lower white-walled datum helps bring the scale down to human proportions, leaving the industrial horizon floating above.
A new entry sequence puts gallery staff front and centre, working along a laptop-strewn expanse of cross-laminated timber made from white-washed pine-beetle wood. Several kinetic features support multivalent gallery functions: a top-sliding glass partition closes off the rear loading bay, tall pivoting walls control access between galleries and back of house, while a large pocket wall separates public and private viewing spaces.