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Courtesy of UBC


The facilities for the University of British Columbia (UBC) Geological Field School are located at the edge of an 80-acre parcel of land near Oliver, British Columbia, adjacent to the White Lake Grasslands Protected Area and the Susie Mine. The site falls within the Southern Okanagan Basin Ecosection, characterized by dramatic rock outcroppings, dry grasslands and open pine forests. (…) 

Taking the thought of minimizing the site impact further, one of the main design components is the use of canted walls throughout the project to minimize the buildings’ footprint at grade without compromising interior volumes. These canted walls do not carry roof loads but they allow sleeping bunks to be staggered, opening up what might otherwise feel like cramped sleeping quarters. The canted wall meets the roof at its outer edge eliminating the requirement for soffits resulting in less area to be finished and ultimately maintained. (…) 

A low-tech water collection system will be used to capture the runoff water of the main buildings in an effort to manage storm water. The water will be utilized for rock cutting and equipment cleaning to help reduce the pressure on the well.  

Materially, the project is constructed and finished almost entirely in wood which is readily available and locally produced. Inspired by the vernacular of rural buildings around the site while also adhering to a budgetary limit, the low-slope roofs and canted walls are clad with corrugated galvanized metal panels. Recessed areas and exterior walls at entries are painted in a palette of muted colours inspired by the lichens and grasses that cling to the rugged hillsides that surround the site. [1]

The new facilities will ensure that the geological field school can continue to be based in the southern Okanagan for decades to come. It will also make possible a wide range of new opportunities for both educational and research purposes by UBC and others, in the Earth and environmental sciences. [2]


[1]      Canadian Architect. “UBC Geological Field School.” Canadian Architect, November 30, 2012. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/ubc-geological-field-school/.

[2]     “The UBC – Teck GEOLOGICAL Field Station: Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.” The UBC – Teck Geological Field Station | Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/education/ubc%E2%80%93teck-geological-field-station.

Additional information:

“Geological Field School.” UBC Science – Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia, March 9, 2021. https://science.ubc.ca/giving/projects/geological-field-school.

“UBC Geological Field Station.” Acton Ostry Architects, May 12, 2020. https://www.actonostry.ca/project/ubc-geological-field-school/.

UBC’s Geological Field School in Oliver, BC. YouTube, 2015. https://youtu.be/E8o9Sso3tfI.

Project Title: Teck Geological Field Station, University of British Columbia
Artists:  Acton Ostry Architects
Year: 2014

Place: Oliver, British Columbia

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