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Geographic isolation was a key driver in the development of the architecture program at UBC. At a time when studies in architecture required a move east, student demand for education locally grew just as Vancouver grew. Initially established as the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Applied Science in 1946, Frederic Lasserre reorganized it into the School of Architecture in 1950. His namesake building, which still houses our architecture program and administrative offices, reflects his vision of modernist architecture.
The school’s philosophical position became established in the 1960s. In this time of shifting social circumstances, our faculty and students expressed themselves in community activism. We played pivotal roles in key moments of Vancouver’s development. From famously rejecting the constructing a freeway through the historic Chinatown and Gastown neighbourhoods, the preservation of the Yaletown Roundhouse as an active community centre, to the revitalization of Granville Island, our students and faculty helped to unlock Vancouver’s urban potential. These strong community ties remain an essential part of our programs.
In 1979, the landscape architecture program started in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. In keeping with academic trends, both programs changed their originally undergraduate professional degrees to graduate ones in the 1990s. While still operating independently, both programs partnered up to deliver the undergraduate environmental design program in 2002.
All three programs came together in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in the Faculty of Applied Sciences in 2005. This move started to shape SALA as we know it today. It also amplified the connections between faculty and students, as well as the professional communities in each profession.
In 2014, we grew further with the introduction of the post-professional urban design program. While spread out across multiple buildings across campus, we have turned our focus on increasing opportunities for collaboration across the programs. Our latest innovation is the dual degree option, offered for the first time in 2016, allowing students to concurrently pursue a Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture in four years. We continue to extend our connections across the design community, whether here in Vancouver or across the globe.