SALA is the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, located in Vancouver, situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam. Deeply committed to the quality of the built and natural environment, we are a close-knit community of scholars, designers, and makers brought together by a shared collaborative spirit.
Our undergraduate and graduate programs, led by an accomplished, multi-disciplinary faculty, teach students to become creative leaders, effective collaborators, and progressive agents of change. We established Canada’s first dual architecture-landscape architecture degree program, breaking new collaborative ground. Beyond our professional degrees, program options range from an exploratory workshop for those considering a career in design, to post-professional degrees for practitioners to gain a new set of skills.
Outside the studio, our students have a range of opportunities to connect with diverse communities. Yearly study abroad courses provide an immersive international experience. An increasingly-robust selection of design-build projects and co-op opportunities offer invaluable hands-on experience. A long tradition of active student organizations is SALA’s social heartbeat.
In addition to our significant contribution to education, research, and innovation within the architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design professions, we award a major design prize, the Margolese Design for Living Prize, each year to a Canadian who has shown extraordinary dedication to the quality of the built environment.
Our campus and our city are ideal laboratories to respond to the urgent human and environmental issues of our times. Our position on Canada’s west coast connects us to a number of communities, from Cascadia to the Pacific Rim. Alumni and friends of our programs have played pivotal roles in shaping Vancouver into an internationally recognized example of sustainable urban design. Drawing on this history, we continue to prepare collaborative, community-minded designers equipped to become leaders in the fields of the built and natural environments.
Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental system of self-regulation. It is the public recognition granted to a professional program that meets established professional qualifications and educational standards through initial and periodic evaluations. Both of our professional degrees, the Master of Architecture and the Master of Landscape Architecture, are accredited programs. Successful graduates are certified, which is a prerequisite to seeking a professional license to practice architecture or landscape architecture.
The Canadian Architectural Certification Board is the sole organization recognized by the architectural profession in Canada to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by Canadian universities.
“In Canada, all provincial/territorial associations/institutes/orders recommend a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit Canadian professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes two types of accredited degrees: the Master of Architecture (M.Arch) and the Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch). A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on its degree of conformance with established educational standards.
Master’s degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree, which, when earned sequentially, comprise an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.” – CACB statement on accreditation
After its last continuing accreditation visit in 2018, the CACB accredited the M.Arch program for six years.
The six other signatories of the Canberra Accord – Australia, China, Korea, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States – recognize the degree.
The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects accredits the Master of Landscape Architecture professional degree through its Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council. The council evaluates, advocates for, advances, and maintains the quality of education in Canadian landscape architectural programs. It typically evaluates university programs every five years to determine compliance with its published minimum standards and the programs’ own stated goals.
First recognized in 1997, the LAAC last accredited the MLA program in 2018 for six years.
The American Society of Landscape Architecture recognizes programs accredited by the LAAC as equivalent to American accredited programs under a reciprocity agreement.
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. We introduced the dual degree option, offered for the first time in 2016, to allow students to concurrently pursue a Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture in four years. Our newest program, the Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism, was launched in 2020. We continue to extend our connections across the design community, whether here in Vancouver or across the globe.
We are located across five buildings on the UBC’s Point Grey campus:
- the Frederic Lasserre Building
- the H.R. Macmillan Building
- the Landscape Architecture Annex
- the Centre for Interactive Research in Sustainability
- the Ponderosa Office Annex B
Our main office and the Master of Architecture program office are located on the fourth floor of the Lasserre Building in room 402. The Bachelor of Design, Master of Landscape Architecture, and Master of Urban Design program office are located on the third floor of the Macmillan Building in room 379.
Studios are located in the Lasserre Building, Macmillan Building, and the Landscape Architecture Annex. Our workshop and most of our fabrication facilities are located in the Lasserre Building, with a satellite location in MacMillan and Landscape Architecture Annex. We also have access to fabrication and studio spaces shared with the Faculty of Applied Science.