Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary

 / Circulation


Doug Snyder, Anil Gokarn / Snyder Architects

Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary

The landings are places for pause and an opportunity to see what is happening elsewhere, exposing students to project-based learning and increasing the transparency and safety of the school.

Doug Snyder, Principal

Jean Vanier’s light-filled Staircases possess a cool industrial look. They are raw unfinished spaces fashioned out of pre-cast concrete and with stainless steel railings. They are double circuit Staircases with an “up circuit” and a “down circuit” which, in a three storey school with lots of vertical movement, results in the most efficient circulation of users.

There are large landings allowing for student gathering and a social experience without inhibiting movement. They act as lounge areas for the students with tremendous views to the outside: the school’s landscaping; the sports fields; and the Niagara escarpment. One Staircase overlooks the front entrance and outdoor patio with its stone armour seating and landscaping. The other Staircase overlooks the projects courtyard at the rear – a ‘watering hole’ for social interaction.

The landings are places for pause and an opportunity to see what is happening elsewhere, exposing students to project-based learning and increasing the transparency and safety of the school.

Our hallway principles are to maintain maximum transparency as an anti-bullying tactic; to bring in lots of daylight; and to have many breakout areas. The Hallways are designed for passive supervision. Throughout the school they are treated as opportunities for the visual display of the student work. Further there’s an Art Gallery just off the Atrium. All of these elements contribute to the school identity and experience.

Tile murals provide graphic interest on second and third floor hallways. Throughout the school we have added benches as places to pause and talk. We want students to socialize without disrupting traffic so the circulation remains very efficient. Jean Vanier has shorter hallways punctuated with breaks, that is, with larger spaces that positively interrupt the flow of traffic.