Acton Ostry Architects

Three seismic buttresses, each clad with illuminated glass panels featuring botanical and zoological images, enliven an extensive upgrade and renewal to a brutalist 1950s science complex located at the heart of the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus. Glass panels incorporate miniature botanical and zoological images as pixels that aggregate to form larger images to signal the nature of the work that takes place within the facility. The revitalized building houses state-of-the-art laboratories, aquaria, classrooms and administrative offices for the Departments of Botany and Zoology. Research lounges, featuring wood paneling and art glass, are sprinkled along daylit corridors, encouraging informal collaboration between students and faculty.


UBC Biological Sciences Complex


Vancouver, BC


The University of British Columbia




15,800 m2

seismic buttress.

seismic buttress


LEED Gold certified
SABMag Green Building Award

awards & recognition

Sustainable Architecture & Building Green Award

1950s brutalist facade intervention.

1950s brutalist facade intervention

The Biological Sciences Building is now a world-class research environment that fosters positive interactions between professors and students.

UBC Department of Zoology



illuminated seismic buttresses.

illuminated seismic buttresses

core sunlight tracking and collector installation.

core sunlight tracking and collector installation

laboratory entrance and faculty offices.

laboratory entrance and faculty offices

informal research lounge.

informal research lounge

collaborative research gathering.

collaborative research gathering

botanical and zoological art glass pixels.

botanical and zoological art glass pixels

modular laboratory layout.

modular laboratory layout

zoological laboratory.

zoological laboratory

break-out space.

break-out space

tiered classroom.

tiered classroom

botanical lab support growth chamber

botanical lab support growth chamber.

botanical lab support growth chamber

In addition to its visual appeal, the technical aspects of the research space are outstanding. Faculty, students, and staff look forward to many years of productive work in the pleasing environment of the renewed space.

UBC Department of Botany