UBC Geological Field School OL09

  • Oliver
  • British Columbia
  • 2011

The UBC Geological Field School in Oliver, British Columbia was awarded a 2012 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence. Eleven separate buildings are arranged across the site to create a “camp” atmosphere that is informal and playful.

A central dining hall for 90 is connected by a covered outdoor deck to an additional cabin that is a multipurpose space for map-reading or gatherings. Two washhouse buildings support a series of subtly different sleeping cabins designed to accommodate up to three faculty members in a series of three cabins, or 20 students in each of the four student sleeping cabins. Within the student cabins, the canted walls create a feeling of spaciousness that is reconciled by colourful built-in bunkies. Communal spaces also benefit from this innovative design convention, including a living area with small kitchenette and a covered outdoor living space.


Careful consideration of materials includes using galvanized standing seam roofing that wraps down to protect the building on several walls, locally milled douglas fir structure, red cedar siding, and coloured stained plywood paneling in recessed areas for identification of donor names and individual cabins.

Concrete piles set in from the building perimeter gently support the buildings just above the landscape and minimize disturbance of the local ecosystem. Cisterns are to be employed for fire protection systems in this remote area, and ramps will lead up to all buildings for universal access.