Originally created in 1991 as a major component of the Cathedral Place development in downtown Vancouver, this building provides a significant public cultural amenity and was originally inhabited by the Canadian Craft Museum. As the Prime Consultant for the original building and development, Merrick Architecture was engaged to renovate the space for the incarnation of the Bill Reid Gallery in 2008, and again in 2018 to renovate the gallery to accommodate expanded exhibition and programming space.
The gallery is accessed via a cloister-like public courtyard, providing a calming buffer from the noise of downtown before entering the gallery. The design of the interior spaces responds to specialized functional program and cultural needs within an urban public environment. Highlights of the 2018 renovation include a custom admissions desk, custom millwork displays and storage for the gift shop, increased exhibition area, a flexible space for programming and exhibitions, upgrades to lighting and finishes throughout the building, an open office area on the lower level, and a new steel and glass pavilion in the sculpture court. Merrick Architecture coordinated provisions for the Raven’s Trove exhibition designed by Sholto Design Studio, as well as a new base and lighting for the monumental totem pole by James Hart celebrating Bill Reid at the heart of the gallery.