St. Michael Catholic

 / Facade

Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic

“We retained +VG because of their expertise in restorations and building additions that were sympathetic and complemented old structures.”

– Doug Campbell, Controller of Plant and Planning

The history of the building honoured in the limestone facade.

Terry White, Partner and  Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

This client School Board covers a large geographic area with concerns beyond Belleville. However, by choosing to restore this heritage building instead of tearing it down, the board demonstrated it listened to what was important and unique to the local community. We wanted to present a Façade that was open and transparent to the community, as well as adopt a material palette that was respectful of the limestone of the original building.

“The Community did not look at the building as being something disposable you just walk away from – but rather something that can be recycled or restored and in terms of stewardship, doing something great.” – Doug Campbell

The muted grey and white tones used in the flooring and on the cladding were chosen to be sympathetic and honour the history of the limestone building. In good architecture there is integrity amongst the whole so, here, the aesthetic on the exterior Façade is driven through to the interior.

The school is made of limestone from a local quarry. When it came to the masonry, conservation was the goal and a masonry conservator was hired to supervise the work and guarantee quality. He located the quarry where the original stone came from. We had the quarry reopened to cut new stone to replace numerous individual stones and lintels of the original school that had deteriorated significantly.

Although the historic front entrance could not continue to operate as the primary entrance for students, it would remain the ceremonial address for the building and the public Façade of St. Michael School. This was part of the rationale for the new addition to be located at the back of the building: so it is in no way visible when you’re looking at the “face” of the school.

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