University of British Columbia

The last school I want to show you on my tour of schools I’ve photographed is the University of British Columbia. Like Simon Fraser University, UBC is situated a ways away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre ― its main campus is located at the western tip of Point Grey, a peninsula to the west of Vancouver’s toniest neighbourhoods.

UBC is a hodge-podge of architectural styles. For one, it’s got your neo-Gothic. This is the Chemistry Building, one of the first three buildings constructed on the Point Grey campus. That was back in 1925.


For another, it’s got your Brutalism. The Buchanan Tower was built in 1972.


And it’s got your postmodernism. This is the Koerner Library, which was designed by Arthur Erickson and completed in 1997.

Fall 2013 034

UBC is fond of combining architectural styles when it builds additions to existing buildings. The Main Library, another of the three buildings constructed in 1925, morphed into the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in 2008. The neo-Gothic centre is the original building, now surrounded by a postmodern glass structure.

I. K. Barber 1

Here’s a look at it from another angle.

I. K. Barber 2

Four wings were added to the Chemistry Building between 1959 and 1989. This is a corner of one of those wings, built in the Brutalist style.


And this postmodern structure is an addition to the Henry Angus Building, which houses the Sauder School of Business. The addition, which opened in 2012, is wrapped around the original building, which was built in 1965 and expanded in 1976.


With 50,000 students, UBC is Canada’s fourth largest university and the largest in Western Canada. These days, the Point Grey campus is one massive construction site. In the past year, work was completed on a new trolley bus loop, upgrades to primary pedestrian corridors (which for some reason I have yet to figure out are called “malls” here), and a new fountain in Martha Piper Plaza. Building construction currently underway includes a new Student Union Building, the new Centre for Brain Health at UBC Hospital, and expansion of the UBC Bookstore. A new building that will house the Faculty of Education is scheduled to break ground this winter.

UBC’s Class of 2016 fittingly calls itself the Class of Construction.

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