Toronto Montessori School

 / Atrium/Commons

Paul Stevens / ZAS Architects

Toronto Montessori School
The interior hallway bridge above connects the two levels of the school: even from the second level, one can see what’s happening on the main level. The bridge adds to the dynamism of the building, with people visibly moving through the school at all times.

“We wanted an atmosphere that brought the entire student body together and that was easy to reconfigure to celebrate student learning in different ways. On a nice day students work and gather in the courtyard.  ZAS created a wonderful flow in this common space”

– Dr. Glenn Zederayko, TMS Head of School

A gathering space for study, celebration and connections.

The Atrium is a truly multipurpose common area for eating and meeting, for holding receptions and performances. The area is highly configurable, welcoming and bright. It has vaulted ceilings with walls of glass and, as a result, the entrance to the school is inviting and transparent, especially with the commons open to the second floor where the faculty room, a classroom and a long hallway overlook it.

For furniture, customized, large-scale benches on casters are used, which can be reconfigured easily: even to create a portable stage that fits in the middle or at one end of the room. This flexibility allows for easy assemblies and gatherings.   “I am committed to the concept of the common lunch” says  Sheila Thomas, Head of College. “The grade 12s for instance all have lunch at the same time and they are sitting across from each other and mingling. It is like a family of 200.”

“Because the forum wasn’t that big, we looked at how we could create the impression of size. We came up with the courtyard, an extension of that common room, which doubles the perceived size of the room. The students move in and out easily and it creates a sense of being connected to the rest of the campus.” – Paul Stevens, Senior Principal, ZAS Architects.