The Beaty Biodiversity Centre and the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory are located on Main Mall, the central north/south spine of the University of British Columbia. Together they form a complex of related environmental science functions; a new campus precinct organized around a generous exterior courtyard space, bisected by new cross-campus pedestrian and bicycle connections.
The 125,000 square foot Beaty Biodiversity Centre comprises a natural history museum, a large natural history collection, research laboratories and offices with related meeting and support spaces. It is organized around three sides of the courtyard space, with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum occupying the west side along Main Mall. The principal exhibition space of the museum is a glass “lantern” within which an enormous skeleton of a Blue Whale is displayed, creating a public face for the complex towards the Mall. The extensive natural history collections, located beneath the central courtyard, are accessible directly from this exhibition space. Research laboratories and offices occupy the south and east sides of the project. The laboratories are organized in regular bays along the east outer edge of the project, while the offices and meeting spaces are organized more casually around the courtyard to foster a sense of academic community. An open stair, located on the courtyard edge of the office and meeting spaces, threads through the project to interconnect informal social spaces.