The Polygon Gallery exhibits contemporary art, with a focus on photography, emphasizing contemporary Canadian work within the context of historical and international art.
Operating as Presentation House Gallery for forty years, the organization presented more than 300 exhibitions, earning a reputation as one of Canada’s most adventurous public art institutions. Some of the most important local and international artists have been featured—from acclaimed Vancouver photographers Stan Douglas and Fred Herzog to world-renowned artists Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol—as well as the work of North Vancouver students participating in innovative education programs, such as Gallery School and Chester Fields.
In its new home, The Polygon will expand on the organization’s long history of presenting the work of artists who respond to transformations taking place in the world.
The Polygon is a public cultural facility operated by the British Columbia Photography and Media Arts Society, a federally registered charity. It is grateful for the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, and the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver through the North Vancouver Recreation & Culture Commission.
A beautiful landmark
designed by local architects
The Polygon Gallery building is intended as a home for art and an incubator for new ideas, as well as an architectural contribution to Vancouver’s North Shore. Governor General’s Award-winning firm, Patkau Architects, who received the commission in 2013, have described the building as their response to the history and powerful personalities of both the art gallery and its new site at the Shipyards in Lower Lonsdale, “ It’s the most historically resonant site – the home to the port industries on which North Vancouver was built. It is the most geographically evocative site – where sea meets mountain. And it’s the place where, in some ways, the community is most connected to the larger region – which it views just across the harbour.” The Polygon building is a combination of contemporary and industrial. The building’s distinctive structure is prominent from anywhere along the harbourfront, and appears as a single, coherent, and even heroic form. Nevertheless, the exterior reflective cladding is animated by the changing light of the day, and mirrors the nature of the surrounding landscape. A very different plan for reflectiveness and light was brought to the interior: “We made a very strong distinction between the exhibition floor – the upper floor – which is walled and much more enclosed in appearance, and the public reception – the ground floor – that is the exact opposite of the exhibition floor. The reception floor is a crystalline, transparent enclosure that allows people to see not only into the gallery building, but through the gallery building. By making this strong distinction and juxtaposition of exhibition space vs public reception space, we’ve been able to achieve optimal results for both what a gallery needs to be and what a public institution needs to be.”
Image (top): © Amy Romer, 2019