Superior Heights Collegiate & Vocational

 / Facade

Paul Stevens / ZAS Architects

Superior Heights Collegiate & Vocational

“It is about having two contrasting facades that respect the neighbourhood and urban conditions within the community.”

Paul Stevens, Senior Principal

The facade of Superior Heights relates to the location in an interesting way. The building has two faces; one which is urban and hard edged to the street and the other which is more approachable and pedestrian, looking back towards the community. 

From a design and layout perspective, many of the rooms on the urban side do not require a lot of natural light. They do, however have a social aspect to them so the use of glazing allows them to be very transparent to the community.  For instance, the cafetorium faces on to the street and allows passersby to see in to the social hub of the school through large glass panels.  Meanwhile the rooms that don’t require the same amount of natural light essentially become sound buffers for the rest of the school from the cars, trucks and urban noise from the street. On the opposite residential side, there is a completely different attitude. It is about pedestrian traffic and locating quieter spaces. The windows are smaller as there is not the same desire to be exposed to all of the school activity for neighbouring homes.

It is about having two contrasting facades that respect the neighbourhood and urban conditions within the community.  Because the building itself is fairly long and linear on the two major facades, we felt it was important to use light colours and materials and avoid dark colours which may feel imposing. Light colours also add a certain lustre and reflect daylight nicely so we used a light buff colour of yellow and grey brick that give a glowing warm feeling.  We introduced wood at the main entrance in the form of a large canopy. It is an architectural feature and defines the entrance and its importance.

We used similar materials on both “faces”for consistency and to provide a cohesive identity, however, different quantities of materials were used dependent on the side. There is more metal on the urban side with larger picture windows and transparency.  We tended to use more brick and finer grade materials on the residential face with increased detailing around windows and entrances. 

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