The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is a permanent base for marine research and teaching for the west coast of Canada. It was established in 1972 by the Western Canadian Universities Marine Sciences Society (WCUMSS) with five British Columbian and Albertan universities as its members. The centre has classrooms, lecture halls, research laboratories, computer laboratories, and a reception hall overlooking Barkley Sound.
Wood performs well acoustically as it amplifies or absorbs sound waves originating from other bodies. The superb acoustics provided by the reception hall have led the Music by the Sea group to choose the centre as its annual music festival venue, making the project multi-purpose in its use by the community.
The roof comprises 12 arched, stretched skin shells supported by parallel strand lumber (PSL) chords at its bottom. It resembles a scallop shell from a bird’s eye view, reflecting its purpose as a marine centre.
PSL is also used as façade columns, supporting the roof structure. The columns are spaced along the perimeter of the building and visible wood siding complements the timber roof.