St. Michael Catholic

 / Atrium/Commons


Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic

Staff and students appreciate that they have an old building that is being reused. In particular the connecting area between the old and new wing gets a lot of feedback especially on how bright it is. The volume and height of it speaks to people and represents a bright transition space between old and new. 

– Bryan Davies, Capital Projects Manager, ALCDSB

A thoughtful addition creates a valuable gallery space.

Terry White, Partner and Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

The Gallery drives the organization of the building. It is a mediator of the original school and the new construction. It serves as the primary thoroughfare of the school with access to the outdoor play areas.

We didn’t want to put the program spaces of the addition tight up against the historic building. We had a great opportunity to take the limestone façade and bring it into the building as a heightened and tactile feature that students, teachers, and parents could experience. We pulled the addition away from the east wall of the original building to create a double height Gallery space that brings light into the main floor classrooms and expose the heritage exterior stone masonry wall now as an interior feature wall.

At the south end the Gallery has a new barrier-free entrance with access to a new elevator we installed to address accessibility issues. On the north end it provides direct access to all of the playgrounds for the school. The administrative offices are at the junction of the old and new buildings and act as the main reception area. They are part of the public corridor system, which further helps with security.

The Gallery is not simply a functional transition area but is a grand social space that can fulfill multiple functions, such as a crush lobby for special event and evening celebrations in the gymnasium/ auditorium located directly off of it. It has become the primary circulation space for the entire school and a main part of daily student life.

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