Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver has opened its new 290,000 square foot campus. The renowned 92-year-old institution relocates to the east side of downtown Vancouver from Granville Island to a purpose-built facility designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The landmark building anchors the regeneration of an industrial zone and is a catalyst for its redevelopment and connection with the city. To engage the community of this emerging cultural and academic precinct, the campus has an open and accessible design that welcomes the public into the creative processes on display.
“The building’s design creates a multitude of places both indoors and out for informal gathering, presentation, making and remaking, which is at the heart of Emily Carr’s multidisciplinary arts learning,” said Donald Schmitt, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “The needs and collaborative spirit of students and faculty inform the fundamental principles of the architecture.”
Composed as a sequence of interconnected program areas, the building is linked by light-filled atria that create nodes of visual connection, transparency and social interaction.
There are dedicated studios for advanced digital media and virtual reality design, 3D production, Health Design, Robotics, Data Visualization and Media, Communication Design, Industrial Design and Graduate Studies in all areas as well as the traditional arts of painting, sculpture, photography, illustration, drawing, print media and ceramics.
“Communal space facilitates a dialogue between these digital and analogue disciplines and the multi-storey Learning Commons serves as a crossroads for exchange that connects with the full-length Concourse and the outdoors,” said project architect Ana Maria Llanos, who heads thecVancouver office of Diamond Schmitt.
The building captures views of the Vancouver skyline and the Coastal Mountains from many vantage points, including terraces and workshops and the fully glazed, north facing painting and drawing studios on the fourth floor. At ground level, the transparent façade reveals sightlines into the building and highlights galleries and other public elements of the campus. A colour palette drawn from the works of the namesake British Columbia artist Emily Carr punctuates the white metal cladding.
Dr. Ron Burnett, president + vice-chancellor of Emily Carr University, says the “opening marks the start of a new chapter for the University on a campus designed to facilitate learning and studio practices in the major disciplines in art, media, design and graduate studies.”