Garth Webb Secondary

 / Layout

Priscilla Ladouceur / Hossack & Associates Architects

Garth Webb Secondary
The site layout illustrates the ‘desire paths’ from different locations throughout the site.

“It is amazing how a simple window placed at the end of a hallway can transform the entire corridor into a bright happy place.”

Priscilla Ladouceur, Principal

The site is not large, though it feels so because of the adjacent parkland and surrounding naturalized landscape (including a fourteen mile creek which meanders south through the town toward Lake Ontario). We gave the school a compact footprint with a 3-storey academic block in order to maximize the amount of green space on the site for play.  It is a simple ‘L’-shape design with the gym and athletic areas close to the play field.  On the inside of the ‘L’ are the communal spaces such as the library, Forum, cafetorium and crush space just off the main entrance. 

Although the building appears to face the street, the school is situated somewhat sideways on the site with the main entrance located functionally off the vehicle drop off and circulation area.  While many students walk to the school, most of the building’s ‘visitors’ arrive by vehicle.  Functionally, we separated the car traffic from the bus traffic which is important from a safety perspective.  Cars and buses behave differently, and whenever possible, separating them makes for a much happier pick-up and drop-off period.

The layout optimizes the benefits of adjacencies with most of the specialty classrooms situated near related or complimentary programs or with connections to exterior zones which service them. For example, it was important that the cafetorium, stage and theatre arts rooms all be in one level so they felt connected from a programming and practical viewpoint.  The 2-sided stage serves the cafetorium, music and the theatre arts rooms. This allows for easy movement of people, instruments, and equipment/sets without the use of elevators or stairs. When the theatre arts room is not being used, the adjacent Instrumental Music room would flow out into this area as a break out space for impromptu practices.