St. Michael Catholic

 / Entrance


Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic
The New Main and Student Entrance opens into the Atrium which sensitively joins the heritage school building to the new building. Its canopy overhang to the entrance reinforces the feelings of safety and security, like welcoming front porch.

This new Entrance communicates that the school is friendly, open and that it places student safety and security at the forefront.

Entrances honour the past or showcase a modern future.

Terry White, Partner and Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

The original Entrance to the school is placed at the centre of the tripartite classically conceived rusticated façade.  We retained it as the Ceremonial Visitors’ Entrance to the building. It communicates that the work done here is of great significance to the School Board and the Belleville community.

The entrance of the 1910s building is a traditional symmetrical façade flanked by two towers. Originally, it had an ornate wood entry system, not unlike what you might see in a church. Over time most had been replaced by cheap aluminum framing. One of the conservation efforts was to remove the aluminum and replace it with handmade oak doors in character with the original design. After years of wear and tear it’s now returned to its original glory. The preservation of St. Michael’s School as an icon of Belleville is best exemplified by this Ceremonial Visitor’s Entrance. 

The project preserved the original heritage school building, while creating an addition for new program spaces.  The addition is sensitively joined to the heritage school building by a gallery that is double height, maximizing the use of glass to flood its interior with daylight, and exposing the heritage exterior stone masonry wall as an interior feature wall. The New Main and Student Entrance opens into the gallery. It is readily accessible by foot, car and bus by way of a new private driveway we installed. This new Entrance communicates that the school is friendly, open and that it places student safety and security at the forefront. It provides for a slower, less hectic approach. The canopy overhang to the Entrance reinforces these feelings, like a welcoming front porch.

The two public entrances are balanced with a third, private entrance to the play fields on the North end of the building.

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