Seismic upgrades to MOA's Great Hall are underway. Follow the project progress →

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The Great Hall Renewal Project

Building for a New Era

Look Closer

The Great Hall Renewal Project

Building for a New Era

Look Closer

The Great Hall Renewal Project

Building for a New Era



MOA’s architecture has important heritage value for UBC and beyond. We are now rebuilding the Museum’s Great Hall to upgrade the seismic resiliency of the space and protect the irreplaceable collection in the event of a major earthquake.

In this exhibition, you will get a glimpse at the plans behind this monumental undertaking, through architectural and engineering drawings, scale models, videos and historical photographs.

The Museum is built on the traditional, ancestral and unceded land of the Musqueam people. The Great Hall’s seismic upgrades require a sensitive approach, and representatives from the Musqueam Indian Band are participating in planning meetings and providing a critical cultural perspective for the project team to take into account. MOA is also liaising with other Indigenous communities and families whose cultural objects were on display in the Great Hall and are now safely resting in the O’Brian Gallery adjacent to the Great Hall.

MOA’s iconic building was designed by the Canadian architect, Arthur Erickson (1924–2009). Feedback from the Arthur Erickson Foundation has informed the architectural and construction approach to this project. Because it would not be feasible to achieve improved seismic performance while keeping the Great Hall’s existing structural elements in place, project engineers determined that a complete rebuild was the best approach. The design solution for MOA is to position base isolators under the main, suspended floor slab to absorb the impact of seismic activity. The Great Hall will be detached from the rest of the Museum and rebuilt on new foundations so it can move freely in the event of an earthquake.

When the project is complete, the Great Hall will still have the appearance of the original space, preserving its architectural character and heritage values.

Learn more about the project and latest construction updates.

You can also explore the Great Hall online in its original state in this 360° virtual tour.

Curator: Fuyubi Nakamura

Photo credits (L-R): 1. MOA Exterior. Photo courtesy of UBC. 2–3. Totem poles being lowered in the Great Hall, in preparation for seismic upgrades (2018). Photos by Brannen Bell, Alina Ilyasova. 4. 3D architectural model of the Museum set inside the Great Hall, at MOA’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations (2019). Photo by Sarah Race.