Willow Park Junior Public

 / Approach


Tania Bortolotto / Bortolotto

Willow Park Junior Public
Despite a tight budget, a typical brick wall was bypassed to do something special.

“From a student’s perspective I think it’s good for them to know what they are heading to and what they are about to do. Their approach informs them of something special.”

Tania Bortolotto, President

Willow Park Junior Public School was all about how students and their families, teachers and even other community members, feel when they approach the school. The school was not a very uplifting place to arrive at. It had tired, worn, dark brick and narrow windows. When we considered the addition we wanted to transform how people feel as they approach the school. The emphasis is now on showing that students and staff are respected and valued by giving them a wonderful space to work and learn.

Architectural details emphasize large recessed windows that offer a vista into the classrooms, highlighting the activities within. These windows are larger than the standard so there’s tremendous opportunity to see in, and, of course, for those inside to see out so that there are immediate connections and context. This extra consideration was not a part of the design brief, and we certainly didn’t go over budget, but being thoughtful in our design thinking we wanted to respect how people felt approaching the school and correct elements that we believed were negatively impacting kids.

From a student’s perspective I think it’s good for them to know what they are heading to and what they are about to do. Their approach informs them of something special. The frame of the window is almost a picture or snapshot of what they can expect, in a very beautiful way, and that brings joy, happiness, and calmness.

Parents feel like this school is an important place, that the Board cares about their children and in doing so respects parents and the community. Most schools are barricades from the community and what we’re trying to do is be transparent, to be open to the community, to start a dialogue with the community. We want passersby to feel that something amazing is happening.

Explore Willow Park Junior Public