Hariri Pontarini at York University Art Gallery Design

Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA) has been selected to design a new freestanding art gallery at York University. The new building will become a centerpiece of the Keele campus, building on the rich history of the York University Art Gallery (AGYU) and increasing its reach in the local community and the world beyond.

Render of the winning design. Image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects.

Boasting a contemporary and contextual design with the characteristic curves of the business, HPA’s proposal stood out in the online design competition that garnered wide interest from serious competitors in the architectural community. Moriyama and Teshima Architects and gh3 were also on the shortlist. All three firms received Governor General’s Medals in Architecture.

The new building will be located in the heart of the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, adjacent to Harry W. Arthurs Common, a short walk from the tube station. The three-story building will showcase contemporary and historical art and include an event space on the ground floor with four separate galleries set in a xeriscape garden.

AGYU’s collection currently contains 1,700 works including…

  • major donations of works by Norval Morrisseau and Andy Warhol
  • 200 prints and sculptures by renowned and influential Inuit artists, including Kenojuak Ashevek and Kananginak Pootoogook
  • paradigmatic work of the Canadian “Automatists” Jean-Paul Riopelle and Paul-Emile Borduas
  • American modernists like Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland
  • TO AUGMENT, an internationally acclaimed film by Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, starring some of Toronto’s most influential spoken word and rap artists.

Aerial: The new building will be located at the heart of the York Keele School of Arts, Media, Performance and Performance; Design, adjacent to Harry W. Arthurs Common, between the Accolade East Building and the Center for Film &; Theater. Image courtesy of Googlemaps.

Founding partner Siamak Hariri cites his enthusiasm to help reimagine the future of AGYU: “To signify this transformation, we drew inspiration from metaphor and nature. Like a butterfly, each of the five wings of the new gallery extends to the campus and of course beyond. Responding to AGYU’s aspiration to expand the social and civic role of the gallery, the building will have a powerful presence, a new presence, embracing the entire common university, and welcoming and attracting visitors to all wonders it has to offer.

AGYU opened in 1988 and moved into its current 3,000 sq. Ft. In 2006. The new building, combined with the existing AGYU space, will form a unified artistic institution and an important center for artistic engagement. . “The new design reflects our vision of an accessible and collaborative art gallery that serves as a space for creation, display and appreciation of diverse art and culture,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton.

Philanthropists and art collectors Joan and Martin Goldfarb donated $ 5 million to the gallery, kicking off this expansion and highlighting the importance of the arts on campus. The eponymous Joan and Martin Goldfarb Gallery will pay tribute to Goldfarb’s long history of supporting the arts at York University.

Render of the winning design, aerial view of the entire Harry W. Arthurs Common area. Image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects.

With this victory, HPA joins its remarkable cultural and institutional portfolio, which includes the recently opened Tom Patterson Theater in Stratford and the internationally award-winning Bahá’í Temple of South America.

You can read more about our database file for the project, linked below. If you wish, you can join the conversation in the discussion thread associated with the project forum or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Joseph E. Golightly