University of British Columbia



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    Some background on the UBC School of Architecture

    David Zeibin
    Sep 6, '04 5:21 AM EST

    The University of British Columbia School of Architecture is based out of the Laserre Building, a modest four-level structure on the main UBC campus, which is located at the tip of a peninsula to the west of Vancouver's main land mass. (The UBC SoA also maintains auxilliary studio space in Vancouver's Chinatown and in downtown Vancouver.)

    The Laserre Building, on the UBC campus.

    (If you'd like some general information about Vancouver, visit the Wikipedia entry here: In very general terms, Greater Vancouver is Canada's third most populous region, after Toronto and Montr�al. It is a Pacific Rim city with substantial ties to Asia, supporting a 35% foreign-born population. Mandarin and Cantonese are the most commonly spoken languages, followed by Punjabi. The city exists in possibly the most temperate climate in Canada, with temperatures between 3 and 20 degrees Celsius. And it rains a lot here, especially in winter.)

    The UBC SoA does not host a pre-professional architecture degree and accepts students from all walks of life into its 3.5-year MArch program. This diversity of students is touted proudly by the school with the intent that said diversity entails a richness in education that may not be possible elsewhere. So far, of the 45-person first-year class, I have met students with backgrounds in architecture, engineering (mechanical, civil, metallurgical), urban planning, environmental science/design, industrial design, interior design, fine arts, general arts, computer science, geology, psychology, sociology, and even biology. I personally find this diversity comforting, as I am entering the SoA fresh from a degree in engineering physics.

    Canadian architecture schools are, for the most part, relatively obscure to Americans. However, it is my understanding that UBC is one of the more upstanding Canadian programs available, in rank with the University of Waterloo and the University of Manitoba. On the other hand, I have heard the criticism (rumour?) that its faculty is fairly young. I am keeping an open mind on my experience(s) here for the time being.

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