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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.

Public Consultation

As part of public consultation for this project, there will be a virtual public open house.

This is a drop-in style event. UBC Campus and Community Planning staff and project design representatives will be available to answer questions or respond to comments.

Virtual Public Open House
Monday, June 29, 2020
Drop-in between 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Online via Zoom

Register here by Monday, June 29th at 12 pm

If you are unable to attend the public open house, the public comment period for this project is open until Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Comments received will be considered as part of the development permit approval process. Please visit the UBC Campus + Community Planning website to review the project documents and access the feedback form.

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
  • •  Project Considerations
  • •  Public Consultation + Feedback Form
  • •  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.

Project Timeline


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