An extension of the university’s Nanaimo Shellfish Research Centre, this new field station in Bayne’s Sound will accommodate research and educational programs devoted to the development of a sustainable shellfish aquaculture industry on Vancouver Island.

Project Essentials

  • LocationDeep Bay, BC
  • ClientVancouver Island University
  • ArchitectMcFarland Marceau Architects
  • Size13,200 ft² (1,226 m²)
  • BudgetC$11 million
  • Sustainable FeaturesCertified LEED Platinum

This project champions responsible and restorative coastal development by using sun, wind, rain and the ocean to reduce the operational footprint. Simple practical and accessible solutions were favoured over complex technologies, showing that the building’s lofty LEED Platinum certification targets could be achieved through readily-available design practices.

Governed by British Columbia’s Wood First Policy (which mandates the use of wood wherever possible in publicly-funded projects), Fast + Epp developed hybrid concrete-glulam ribs to provide a flexible and column-free space, with heavy-timber decking for the curved roof (which metaphorically references a shell) and nail-laminated solid wood floors.


The program is organized on three levels around a brightly-daylit central atrium, with laboratory, seminar, and office spaces.

The use of wood in place of other more energy-intensive materials, together with the carbon dioxide already sequestered within the wood, reduces the building’s net carbon footprint by 300 tonnes.