Glass building with multiple rooms protruding out.

UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Vancouver, BC

UBC’s pharmaceutical science researchers, faculty, and University programs are recognized internationally for their achievements. Their research, teaching and office facility reflects this international reputation, providing UBC with a state-of-the-art building which promotes creativity and collaboration and welcomes the campus community in via an open and inviting lobby.

This project is a joint venture between Saucier + Perrotte Architectes and hcma.


Areas of impact

Interior of front entrance
Corner angle of the building with multiple protruding rooms made of glass windows.
Design Challenge

UBC sought a world-class, iconic facility to house both their Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Centre for Drug Research and Development. Located at an important entry point to the campus, the design needed to reflect the faculty’s international reputation and to showcase its important public function. To achieve this, the design team needed to engage a complex stakeholder group, meet rigorous technical requirements and complete the project within an aggressive schedule.


When replacing an aging facility, UBC Properties Trust envisioned a building which would successfully contribute to UBC’s legacy of architecture and pharmaceutical research. They requested a signature building that will become the standard by which future education and high-level research buildings will be measured — both in Canada and abroad.

Geometric hallway with a wooden ceiling leading to a staircase.

Marking the new gateway to the rapidly developing southeastern edge of the campus, this building is instantly engaging. The entrance features an open plaza that slopes down from an adjacent knoll, literally drawing one inside. Passers-by not rushing inside to class might be forgiven for lingering on one of the concrete benches outside and gazing up at the dramatic west-facing façade.

Hadani Ditmars, Wallpaper*

A hallway of wooden balconies leading to a geometric white wall.
Scientific room with white desks
Design Response

The striking design provides enjoyable, livable spaces for research and learning, creating public and private spaces that support collaboration and the exchange of ideas — both social and intellectual. Its unconventional layout affords students and researchers opportunities that traditional university buildings have not. A vibrant node for science on the campus, the building is intended to promote creativity and new methods for individual and collaborative research, with many informal learning spaces where students can meet and creative ideas can grow outside of the classroom spaces.

Smaller, problem-based learning rooms and informal lounge and study spaces next to circulation areas and classrooms support the activities of the larger learning spaces. Informal spaces programmed with flexible furniture and power arrangements to support collaborative learning efforts. Overlook opportunities between offices and teaching spaces: glazed walls allow educators to have visual contact from their offices with students working in classroom and lab spaces.

Girl on working on a laptop in a common space.


RAIC Governor General's Medals in Architecture 2014

Architizer A+ Awards 2013

AwardLieutenant Governor of BC Awards for Architecture 2013

AwardOntario Association of Architects Awards - Design Excellence 2013

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