The First Nations House of Learning at UBC provides a place for First Nations on the University campus that addresses the past and the future simultaneously. The building form combines the simplicity of traditional construction with a more contemporary form, thus emphasizing the progressive nature of the community it contains. Traditionally sited according to the true cardinal points of the compass, the threshold between the UBC Longhouse and the campus grid is distinctly marked in both section and in plan. A curving exterior stair connects the two, descending to a central court through a cedar framework which emulates the form of the traditional Pit House.
The traditional shed form of the longhouse is animated through the varying pitch of the roof rafters. This curving form contrasts the simple planked form of the Great Hall, which is separated from the main body of the Longhouse by means of a glass sheathed corridor exposing the massive timber construction. Landscaping helps to modulate the light entering the building; cedar decks and boardwalks combined with river rock, gravel, wildflowers and a snag-filled waterfall create a natural exterior environment.