The building that houses the Centre was designed by award-winning architect Alfred Waugh (Formline Architecture), the first Indigenous graduate of UBC’s architecture program. The building was designed with the intention of unifying themes of memory and social dialogue, and reflects the diversity of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The two-storey, 6,500 square-foot space features several symbolic architectural elements.
The Chief’s Copper represents dignity to the Coast Salish peoples. The Centre’s roof references the cultural significance of copper.
Charred Cedar Plank Sliding
More resilient once charred, the cedar plank siding on the building’s exterior is a potent symbol of the strengths of residential school Survivors and their families.
These windows with natural light showcase the nature outside as a relief to the emotional space and to counter the experience of feeling confined in residential schools with small windows.
An accent wall and water feature on the lower level symbolizes the tears of Survivors who suffered traumatic experiences in residential schools.
Woven Cedar Wall
The woven cedar wall that accompanies the staircase joining the lower and upper levels of the building represents the culture of basket weaving and bulrush mats used in longhouses.