AGO Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery
“The Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery is poised to expand the museum as a force in the international art world – and this team will get us there. It’s a group that is unmatched in its experience and caliber, and reflective of AGO’s vision.”Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario
Diamond Schmitt, together with Selldorf Architects and Two Row Architects, is leading the development of the Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery. This addition to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), will expand gallery space by 40,000 square feet—increasing the museum’s total space available to display art by 30%.
From the exterior, the expansion will quietly complement the AGO’s existing built environment, respecting the scale of the surrounding neighbourhood. The Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery will sit one story above the AGO’s existing loading dock, nestled between the AGO and OCAD University. It will seamlessly connect to, and be accessed by, the AGO’s existing galleries from four locations, substantially improving visitor circulation throughout the museum.
This expansion will significantly increase gallery space for a growing collection of modern and contemporary art. Inside the Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery, at least 13 exhibition spaces of varying scale and ceiling height are being designed. These new column-free galleries will be highly functional and very flexible – dynamic enough to display the works of today’s great modern and contemporary artists, and adaptable to the needs of future generations of artists working across all media. Galleries are being designed to adjust to the needs of the program – as large open spaces, or easily divided into a series of more intimate galleries. Designed to encourage intimate encounters with art, the fluidity of these open spaces is enabled by a robust structural capacity, intended to make the installation of complex immersive artworks easier and more accessible.
The design of the Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery is being informed by ongoing consultation with Indigenous leaders and communities, led by Two Row Architect. These conversations and others are instrumental in leading the team to adopt adaptability, accessibility, relevancy, zero carbon operating and inclusivity as their guiding principles.
The Dani Reiss Modern and Contemporary Gallery is being designed to operate without burning fossil fuel. The all-electric mechanical plant will use no operational carbon and create no emissions, while seeking CAGBC Zero Carbon Operating Building certification – making it one of a very small number of museum spaces to accomplish this. It will also be built to Passive House standards, for maximum heating and cooling efficiency.