St. Michael Catholic

 / Classroom

Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic

The upper walls of the classrooms are glass so the existing plaster crown mouldings are still highly visible and you can appreciate that you are in a very grand space. There has been great enthusiasm for this space by staff and students.

– Doug Campbell, Controller of Plant & Planning, ALCDSB

School's heritage adds character and elevates classroom design.

Terry White, Partner and Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

Grades 1 through 8 are all located in the original heritage building, with Grades 1 to 4 on the main floor and Grades 5 to 8 on the second. The idea for the classrooms in the heritage building was to provide an updated level of amenity while retaining the school’s character. The interplay between the modern and the old emphasized and enhanced each other’s qualities. We used bright colours in the classrooms with feature walls and VCT floor patterning, injecting a sense of identity and allowing way-finding, with classes having a colour postal code, as it were. The classrooms were modernized with custom millwork and whiteboards. The large coat rooms at the back of some classrooms were reimagined with storage, benches and hooks to create a colourful, fun dressing area.

The school’s exterior windows are very large, with high glazing and bring in an incredible amount of daylight. However, the building systems needed a total overhaul with new mechanical, electrical, and HVAC infrastructure to meet the building code. We didn’t want the new ceilings required to house the building systems’ equipment to disrupt the daylighting effect of the windows. Therefore, we designed the ceiling so that it meets the windows but, as you move away, it steps down and floats to allow us to put in lighting and hide the mechanicals.  This approach addresses the modern functional requirements of the classroom, while elevating the students’ working environment through preserving the building’s heritage.

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