As a major tourist destination and a research and teaching museum, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus is renowned for its displays of world arts and cultures, in particular works by First Nation band governments. Comprehensive renovation and expansion to the building compromised of several complementary components including but not limited to the new MOA Centre for Cultural Research wing, the Multiversity Galleries, the Audain Gallery, and the new Café MOA and expanded shop.
Houle installed power, data networks, security, fire alarm, public address system, specialty lighting and dimming system, and very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA) for the museum. The project was completed in phases.
For much of the project, Houle worked alongside numerous museum artifacts including totem poles, ceramics, and other priceless works of art, many of which could not be moved or covered up during the project. Care needed to be taken by the team to ensure these artifacts were not disrupted.
Many of the building’s existing electrical rooms were very small and confined. Existing concrete infrastructure was seismically sensitive, limiting electrical routing options; concrete was also brittle, presenting drilling and aesthetic challenges. Extensive preplanning was required for many exposed installations. Several installations required the use of a boom lift to reach extreme heights (such as in the grand room). Existing infrastructure, floor plan, and placement of immovable artifacts often left only centimeters for boom piloting and margin of error. Despite all these challenges, Houle was able to provide quality of workmanship to this project, which was of utmost importance since in some areas, the ceiling could not be repainted due to sensitive nature of the collection below.
Over the course of Phase I & II, Houle was presented with 175+ scope of work changes, each with multiple parts. Despite all these changes to the project, Houle completed the project on-time and with additional cost savings to the owner.