~ gesamtkunstwerk - vancouver house ~

Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Gesamtkunstwerk  exhibition displays the collaboration between Bjarke Ingels Group architects and Westwood corporation for a project called Vancouver House. Vancouver House is going to be at the north end of Granville bridge and includes a living tower surrounded by lower level shops, businesses and offices. To be honest, I didn't know much about this project before I went to the exhibit but afterwards I had a good idea what they were aiming for.

Here's the link to the Gesamtkunstwerk exhibition.

The German word gesamtkunstwerk can be translated as "a total work of art". When you first walk into the exhibition you will be greeted, asked to fill out a guest card and offered an audio guide. 

The exhibit starts of by sharing the history of various buildings in Vancouver, setting a tone to how Vancouver House will fit into these pre-existing buildings, I appreciated this background information and it definitely made me more eager to learn about the exhibition itself.

Then it moved on to talking about Vancouver House exclusively. I really enjoyed the concept art as well as the simple diagrams of how they were going to engineer the building.

My friend and I had a great time looking and feeling the different materials going to be used. I felt like these samples created a more personal relation to the project, making me more excited to see how they were going to use these materials.

The exhibit was in one large room and albeit not very large it held a lot of information. I was so busy looking at the wall displays and things on the tables I never got to sit on one of the chairs!

This is the highlight of Vancouver House, the living tower with a spiral/twist on the lower half, giving it movement and changing it's shape depending on which angle it's viewed at. The exterior reminds me of honey combs and while it looks strict, clean, and orderly the twist gives it that organic element which makes it more inviting. The frail "frame" on the exterior along the windows gives the building a light, airy feel which I think is mimicked by the chairs at the exhibit seen down below.

The chairs like the building are also hollow, light and really only a shell of it's essence as a chair.

I enjoyed this exhibition a lot more than I expected and I want to thank my friend for being so kind, patiently waiting for me as I slowly read the dialogues and photographed the place. I look forward to the completion of this project and am curious to see if it will achieve what it set out to do.

Also Westbank has collaborated with World Housing for this project. Meaning that each living space they sell from this project, a home will be built for a family previously living at a landfill. Apparently this is the first collaboration of its kind for World Housing, you can find more about it here and here. Personally for me, this is the best part of the project and it makes me very happy reading about it.