Acton Ostry Architects

Bold angular massing, an origami-like facade and extensive planes of glazing combine to create a faceted facade that dramatically reveals activities taking place within the UBC Aquatic Centre. A series of Y-shaped columns support a continuous skylight that seamlessly separates the folding-form into a two-sided pool hall that houses both daily community use and an international competition venue. A translucent screen establishes a luminous separation that reflects abundant daylight into the 25 metre leisure pool and recreation slide, while providing diffused light into the 50 metre high performance pool. The facility is fully accessible with universal change rooms and ramp and lift access into the pools. The project is a collaboration of MJMA and Acton Ostry Architects.


UBC Aquatic Centre


Vancouver, BC


The University of British Columbia




7,785 m2

entry lobby.

entry lobby


LEED Gold certified
AIA International Region Sustainability Award

awards & recognition

Governor General Medal in Architecture

IOC IAKS Gold Award
Canadian Interiors Best of Canada Award
SCUP Excellence in Architecture
AIA/CAE Education Facility Design Award

Lieutenant Governor of BC Medal
Ontario Association of Architects Award Finalist
Global Architecture & Design Award
AIA International Region Merit Award
AIA International Region Sustainability Award
Piscine Global Europe Pool Design Awards
Interior Designers of Canada Award
Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia Award

Azure Magazine Ten Best Buildings
Athletic Business Facilities Award

American School & University Architectural Portfolio

Canadian Architect Award of Excellence



Just as its design speaks to the balance between public and private space and between Olympian and community needs, so too does it play with the contrasting solidity and transparency of the surrounding environment.

Canadian Architect

universal change room access.

universal change room access

universal change rooms.

universal change rooms

universal showers and change rooms.

universal showers and change rooms

leisure pool.

leisure pool

leisure pool.

leisure pool

25 metre recreation pool.

25 metre recreation pool



continuous skylight.

continuous skylight

50 metre competition pool.

50 metre competition pool

luminous separation screen.

luminous separation screen

spectator bleachers.

spectator bleachers

origami-like facade.

origami-like facade



The UBC Aquatic Centre stands out for its luminous interiors. Being inside is like being in a white tent on a summer day, all year round. Outside, it transforms swimming into a rambunctious event, drawing in passersby and animating the campus.

overnor General Medal in Architecture