For a number of years, the University of British Columbia has been working with engineers to assess and improve the seismic safety of its campus. The goal is to create a disaster-resilient university that can withstand a major seismic event.

Project Essentials

  • LocationVancouver, BC
  • ClientUBC
  • ArchitectPerkins + Will
  • Size163,000 ft² (15,000 m²)
  • BudgetC$27 million
  • Sustainable FeaturesCertified LEED Gold

New scientific developments and several major earthquakes worldwide have increased engineers’ understanding of the active faults in the Pacific Northwest. This new knowledge has revealed previously unknown building deficiencies resulting in enhanced building codes.

The Buchanan Complex project consisted of a complete overhaul of existing mechanical, electrical, and seismic systems for a series of four cast-in-place concrete buildings surrounded by masonry infill walls. Built in the 1960s, the complex remains critical as the university’s largest faculty – at least 12,000 Arts students enroll each year on average.

Fast + Epp’s primary seismic upgrade solution included facing existing seismically-deficient shear walls with a new layer of reinforced concrete. The interior spaces of these two- and three-storey buildings were completely re-configured to reflect current teaching techniques, including increased flexibility and added office space for graduate student research. Added social spaces and a new cafe have renewed the complex’s connection to the broader campus.