Flickr/Iwona Kellie

The Vancouver Art Gallery has shortlisted five firms to propose designs for a new home for the museum in downtown Vancouver.

Basel, Switzerland–based Herzog & de Meuron, Toronto's KPMB Architects, and Tokyo practice SANAA were three of the firms picked to move forward to the design stage. Some 75 firms answered the Vancouver Art Gallery's request for qualifications to design the roughly 310,000-square-foot building.

The other two finalists—Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects—are the subjects of a heated controversy in New York. On Wednesday, Diller Scofidio + Renfro released plans for an expansion to the Museum of Modern Art that requires the much-loved former American Folk Art Museum building (designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects) to be destroyed.

The winner of the final design stage will design a new purpose-built museum for downtown Vancouver. The new building will more than double the Vancouver Art Gallery's present exhibition space. The final design will include dedicated galleries, outdoor space for public programs, an auditorium, and a signature lobby and public gathering space.

Vancouver's City Council voted unanimously to designate two-thirds of the parcel at 688 Cambie Street for the new museum, located a block from the Vancouver Public Library and BC Place Stadium. The Vancouver Art Gallery moved into its current home, a former courthouse renovated by Arthur Erickson, in 1983.

Photo used with permission via a Creative Commons license with Flickr user iwona_kellie.