Northlea Elementary

 / Circulation

Tania Bortolotto, Alex Horber / Bortolotto

Northlea Elementary
Northlea Elementary School Hallway

“Corridor space was co-opted to act as a light well and the use of clerestories to filter sunlight into the new spaces and through to the existing.”

Tania Bortolotto, President

Most agree that hallways can function beyond a means to get from biology to art class. They are important and dynamic spaces which can be used to engage students, allow them to be social, even function as break out or additional classroom space.   But first they must be made to be inviting places that students and staff want to be in; unlike the dark, narrow hallways of the past.

Northlea was an infill project where we added three classrooms and related corridor space into a courtyard space on the second floor.  Because of the interior positioning, the challenge was on how to bring in natural light and keep these spaces feeling light, open and bright. Typically, the circulation spaces and hallways would not be seen as a priority but we felt it was equally important to transform these areas of the school  and optimize their value to the school and specifically the students who use them everyday.

We started by using and co-opting existing corridor space to act as a light well and the use of clerestories to filter sunlight into the new spaces and through to the existing. Skylights add even more daylighting  and offer views to the sky and treetops, less distracting than views to the street and provides a sense of calm and well-being so students can focus.

The corridors have also been design for full accessibility with ramps integrated throughout and not off to the side. Hallways were kept wide to leave room for students to stop and socialize and engage with each other and teachers without being a barrier to movement. Light, white wall colours were used throughout to keep the space feeling open and not depressing.  Hits of bright colours on the lockers inject energy and fun –  it’s always good to remind students that schools can be a fun place to be



Explore Northlea Elementary
Explore Northlea Elementary