Garth Webb Secondary

 / Atrium/Commons

Priscilla Ladouceur / Hossack & Associates Architects

Garth Webb Secondary

We believe that students rise to expectation.  We’ve experienced that if you provide students with a beautiful space, they will take ownership of it and treat it with respect.

Priscilla Ladouceur, Principal

From the main entrance, you immediately get the experience of the Forum as the social hub of the school. It is off the main student entrance and the 1.5 storey space is bright, airy and a happy space to be.  Many key communal and creative spaces are linked together by this energetic space – such as the cafetorium, library, theatre arts/stage and gym. It is a wide corridor with built-in benches and a glazed curtain wall with garden doors and views to the sunken courtyard outside.   A glass partition separates it from the cafetorium, allowing daylight to penetrate into the school. This fosters visual connections but provides some sense of physical separation without feeling too enclosed.

We underestimated how loved and popular the Forum would be by students.  Despite the layers of seating we had incorporated, we had to find more ways to provide seating, as students were sitting on the floor and leaning against walls so they could spend all their free time there together.

The staircase connects the public space vertically to the academic spaces of the school. Students can look into the Forum, Library and Cafetorium from the upper corridors via windows that run along the second floor hallways and vice versa.

We installed perforated sound absorbing panels on the ceiling to reduce echoing and make sure it is a comfortable place to be acoustically. Slatted wooden screens also add an element of warmth to the durable and low maintenance hard surfaces, and relate back to similar details found throughout the school in the library and on the exterior.  Neutral, warm colours keep the space, and students feeling calm while small hits of colour, add fun and a youthful personality throughout the spaces.  Designing a student focused space shows students that they are valued and engages them on their terms.