Following a Nov. 9 symposium to gather ideas for expanding Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, planning teams of staff members and architects translated the key themes into architectural concepts and designs. On Nov. 14, they unveiled three concepts for the school.

The following illustrations are artistic conceptual drawings only. They do not reflect final school design plans.

In this concept, the renewed 1929 entrance to the school is an invitation to access a creative, holistic learning community. The welcome area includes a main office, meeting areas, gallery space and access to the courtyard. The revitalized entrance offers improved traffic flow and increased parking.

Enclosing the courtyard provides a flexible gathering place. This includes a new cafeteria that opens to the courtyard, allowing students to flow indoors and outdoors seamlessly and safely.

The concept also relocates and repurposes spaces to be flexible for creativity and learning in a variety of ways. It features a visual arts wing and performing arts wing. The Royal Durst Theatre continues to be the primary space for musical and collaborative experiences for students, staff and the community.

A secondary entrance off of F Street serves as the welcome to a community hub for the arts that serves all stakeholders. It includes a proscenium arch theater, black box theater, box office, lobby, gallery space and access to the courtyard.

Download and view concept 1 as a PDF.

This concept allows for sustainable growth and changing needs while keeping in mind the sense of community that has been the core of VSAA students and staff. It was designed to expand opportunities for more students and increase use of the facility by outside users. Spaces created with renewable resources are adaptable for both small and medium-sized groups. The new commons/cafeteria is airy and cheerful and can be transformed into a large meeting or performance venue, continuing the integration of arts and academics.

Download and view concept 2 as a PDF.

VSAA serves as a hub for student and adult arts education. A state-of-the-art performance facility and education center offers a 1,000-seat auditorium, the Durst music hall, state-of-the-art dance studios, recital halls and a black box theater.

A dedicated art gallery accommodates community and student art. Box office, community and arts offices and concession and retail merchandise spaces provide amenities.

The visual art studios represent a convergence of traditional and iconic methods, as well as real-world innovation and imagination.

An enclosed courtyard features an outdoor performance and gathering space. New fitness facilities are placed adjacent to the dance studios, and innovative science classrooms support 21st-century learning.

The school also includes features that create a vibrant, supportive community. The courtyard exemplifies community and parental support. An extension of the cafeteria and commons space connected to the courtyard completes this vision. The new auditorium supports a philosophy of gathering the entire school community for performances, guest artistry, project-based learning and culture-building.

Download and view concept 3 as a PDF.

An extensive review and planning will assess feasibility and affordability and hone the concepts into more detailed plans.

Thanks to voter approval of a bond measure, VSAA’s upgrade/expansion is slated to begin in July 2020, depending on contractor availability, bond cash flow and other circumstances.

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