Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary

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Doug Snyder, Anil Gokarn / Snyder Architects

Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary

Its openness improves safety and discourages bullying. The design fosters the development of empathy, tolerance and healthy relationships.

Doug Snyder, Principal

Jean Vanier Secondary School is organized into a three storey academic wing and a two storey sports/theatre complex united by a centrally located atrium. Major activity areas like the cafeteria, the food school, the theatre, guidance and the administration areas flank the atrium, creating a ‘main street’ ambience and making it the vibrant hub of the school community.

We grouped rooms with similar uses, for example art, drama and music are together. The library is centrally located in the school and it’s on the second floor. The public use is on the first floor and, as you go up, we have the specialty rooms and academic classrooms. The school is designed for community use so that the gym and auditorium can be used by the public yet access to the rest of the school is blocked.

This is a big school, 190,000 sq ft, but, because it’s designed so thoughtfully, you always know where you are and how to get where you want to go, which calms and comforts students, a benefit that educators value in high schools.

We pulled arts and workshops into the heart of the school to expose students to new avenues of learning – e.g. project based learning. The building is designed to ease travel time and student circulation.