Acton Ostry Architects

With a striking black and white aesthetic, the renewal of the UBC Hebb Building establishes a new and distinct identity for the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy. A glazed bridge and experiment shafts emblazoned with physics-inspired art installations conveys to passersby the studies taking place within. Interactive state-of-the-art laboratories support variable teaching modes in a collaborative, hands-on environment with social and study spaces scattered throughout the facility. Natural light and a sense of openness are introduced through the removal of solid wall at corridors and the introduction of expansive views between laboratories.


UBC Hebb Building


Vancouver, BC


The University of British Columbia




5,960 m2

experiment tower and bridge link.

experiment tower and bridge link


LEED Gold certified

awards & recognition

Grands Prix du Design Renovation Gold Award
Grands Prix du Design Higher Education Silver Award

classroom circulation.

classroom circulation

Simply put, the new Hebb Building is exceptional. AOA captured exactly the disparate input, ideas and aspirations of physicists and turned it into a building that not only has the functions we need, but also reflects the essence of our ideals of what spaces can look like to inspire students for decades to come.

UBC Department of Physics & Astronomy

lecture classroom.

lecture classroom

teaching laboratory.

teaching laboratory

technician support space.

technician support space

learning laboratory.

learning laboratory

makerspace workshop.

makerspace workshop

optics laboratory.

optics laboratory

main entrance.

main entrance

pedestrian bridge link.

pedestrian bridge link

experiment shaft.

experiment shaft

laboratory circulation.

laboratory circulation

transparency between laboratories.

transparency between laboratories

experiment laboratory.

experiment laboratory

lecture theatre.

lecture theatre

social and study lounge.

social and study lounge

The building is quite radically transformed and beautifully captures the vision that you developed with us in the design process. In a sense, we said “let there be light” and you made it so. It is bright, open and invites collaboration and new ways of doing things.

UBC Department of Physics & Astronomy