Visit MOA! We have reopened—with new safety measures and timed-entry tickets Plan your visit →

UBC Home

The Collections

Conservation

Curatorial, Interpretation + Design

Library + Archives

Research + Collections Stories See all

Research + Collections Stories

Great Hall Renewal Project

Project Overview

This Fall, preparations will begin for a rebuild of its Great Hall at MOA to upgrade the resiliency of the museum and protect its irreplaceable collection in the event of a major earthquake. When the project is complete the Great Hall will look like it does now with some improvements, including new lighting and carpeting. MOA is also currently under construction for other building upgrades, such as updates to its skylights, lighting, roofing, window coverings and fire protection. Together, these improvements will better showcase and protect the collection. MOA’s landscape will also be fully remediated once construction is complete.

MOA has important heritage value for UBC. The Great Hall seismic upgrades therefore involve a sensitive approach, following conservation principles that address both the heritage values and character-defining elements of the site and the building. Feedback from the Arthur Erickson Foundation has informed the architectural and construction approach to the project, ensuring the Great Hall will retain the appearance of the original space to preserve its architectural character and heritage values. Likewise, the Musqueam Indian Band has participated in planning meetings.

The design solution emerging for the seismic upgrades to the Great Hall is to utilize base isolators under the suspended main floor slab to absorb the impact of seismic activity, separating the building from the ground and from the adjoining museum structures.

In preparation for the seismic upgrades to the Great Hall, all of the massive wooden carvings that reside in the Great Hall will be lowered and relocated elsewhere in the museum ahead of the construction. MOA is liaising with Indigenous communities and families whose cultural objects are being moved from the Great Hall. They will continue to provide input into protocols around moving and re-installing these works into the Great Hall post-construction. The safety and protection of these irreplaceable Indigenous objects is of the highest priority to MOA’s team, who will ensure they are well cared for before and during construction. Many of the poles were already lowered last fall and placed in the O’Brian Gallery adjacent to the Great Hall, where visitors have the rare opportunity to see the poles as they rest during the construction.

Once construction begins, the Great Hall will be closed while the rest of the Museum will remain open to the public. Visitors will still be able to enjoy the other exhibition spaces, including the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery, the Multiversity Galleries with more than 9,000 objects from around the world, the Elspeth McConnell Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks and the Audain Gallery that houses popular feature exhibitions. Much of the popular outdoor exhibits, including the Haida Houses and outdoor poles, will also remain accessible to the public.


Project Details

The Great Hall Renewal is a joint project of UBC Campus + Community Planning, UBC Infrastructure Development and the Museum of Anthropology.

Please visit the UBC Campus + Community Planning website for project details, documents and technical information, including:

  • •  Project Overview
  • •  Public Consultation
  • •  Project Considerations
  • •  Architectural Plans
  • •  Landscape Plans
  • •  Tree Protection Plan
  • •  Frequently Asked Questions
  • •  Project Timeline

Further project updates will also be available on the UBC Infrastructure Development website.


Public Consultation

As part of public consultation for this project, a virtual open house was held on June 29, 2020. It was a drop-in style event hosted on Zoom. Campus and Community Planning staff and project design representatives were available to answer questions or respond to comments.

The public comment period for this project closed on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Comments received will be considered as part of the development permit approval process.


Project Timeline


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the scope of the project?

This Fall 2020, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) will begin preparations for a rebuild of its Great Hall to upgrade the seismic resiliency of the space and protect its irreplaceable collection in the event of a major earthquake. As part of a larger renewal project, the museum is also currently receiving other building improvements, such as updates to its skylights, lighting, roofing, window coverings and fire protection.

Why is this project happening?

As part of ongoing seismic planning, UBC conducted a comprehensive evaluation of seismic risk across all campus buildings to assess, plan, and prioritize upgrades to buildings or areas within the buildings that have the highest seismic risk. MOA’s Great Hall was determined to have a high level of seismic risk and therefore was prioritized for upgrade.

During the project planning process, it was determined that it would not be feasible to achieve improved seismic performance to the Great Hall while retaining the existing structural elements. A complete rebuild of the Great Hall was determined as the best approach to upgrading the resiliency of the space without compromising its architectural integrity.

UBC and MOA acknowledge that the museum is built on the traditional, ancestral and unceded land of the Musqueam people. Musqueam Indian Band has participated in the planning process.

What will the Great Hall look like after the project is complete?

MOA is considered to have important heritage value for UBC. The rebuild of the Great Hall involves a sensitive approach that will follow conservation principles that address both the heritage values and character-defining elements of the site and the building. Feedback from Arthur Erickson Foundation has shaped the architectural and construction approach to the project. The new rebuild for the Great Hall will retain the appearance of the original space to preserve its architectural character and heritage values. When the project is complete the building will look like it does now with some improvements, including new lighting and carpeting.

MOA will also receive some other building improvements, such as updates to its skylights, lighting, roofing, window coverings and fire protection – some of this work has been underway for the past year. Together, these improvements will better showcase and protect the collection. MOA’s landscape will also be fully remediated once construction is complete.

What is the project timeline?

The Great Hall rebuild project is currently in the design phase and the space will be closing in September. Construction is expected to start immediately after and is anticipated to be completed in early 2022.

What’s happening to the collection in the Great Hall during construction?

All objects from the Great Hall, including more than 20 massive carvings, will be temporarily located elsewhere in the museum in time for construction. Some of the poles have already been lowered and are available to the public to see. This unique collection will be reinstalled into the Great Hall once construction is complete.

MOA is liaising with Indigenous communities and families whose cultural objects are being moved from the Great Hall. They will continue to provide input into protocols around moving and re-installing these works into the Great Hall post-construction. MOA’s team will ensure the irreplaceable Indigenous objects will be well cared for before and during construction.

Is the museum going to be closed during the whole construction process?

While the Great Hall will be closed during construction as of September, the rest of the museum will remain open with many exhibitions for visitors to experience. All objects from the Great Hall, including more than 20 massive carvings, will be located elsewhere in the museum in time for construction. Some of the poles have already been lowered and are available to the public to see.

There are four other exhibition spaces at MOA to enjoy, including the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery, the Multiversity Galleries with more than 9,000 objects from around the world, the Elspeth McConnell Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks and the Audain Gallery that houses popular feature exhibitions. The Haida Houses located outside behind MOA and the poles on the museum grounds will still be accessible for the public.


Project Team

Development Permit: DP19025

Status: In construction

Project Manager: UBC Project Service — Aletha Utimati

Architect: Nick Milkovich Architects Inc.

Construction Manager: Smith Bros. & Wilson

Structural Engineer: Equilibrium