Gesamtkunstwerk

IAN GILLESPIE

The evolution of our
city-building practice

Over the past two decades, beginning with Residences on Georgia, progressing through the Shangri-La Vancouver and Toronto, the Woodward’s re-development, the Fairmont Pacific Rim and Vancouver House, we have evolved into a more mature, well-rounded practice.

These large, complex mixed-use developments all share an emphasis on the integration of public art, and building them has compelled us towards thinking about our projects as more than just buildings. Although the artistry remains paramount, we want to create opportunities to shape the entire build-out of the city.

It was in this context that we discovered the word and philosophy behind “gesamtkunstwerk,” and came to the belief that it best represents a guiding philosophy for all of our projects, current and future. The key concept is taking the idea of the total work of art to a whole new scale – applying this philosophy for enlightened city-building.

This matters because the future of all countries depends on the success of our cities. Cities work because ideas come out of them. At Westbank, we hope that adopting a building mission around the concept of a total work of art results a giant leap forward – not only from technical and sustainability perspectives – but for all aspects of our cities.

Visit our recent exhibition;
Gesamtkunstwerk: Life as a Total Work of Art

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