St. Michael Catholic

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Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic

The gallery provides accessible circulation between the heritage building and the addition while also creating a social commons for users.

A purpose focussed addition increases functionality of original school.

Terry White, Partner and Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

The tension between the craftsmanship of the 1913 heritage school and the contemporary detailing in the new addition creates the richness that makes St. Michael such a success. We designed a gallery space between the addition and the heritage building that links the two pieces. The gallery provides accessible circulation between the heritage building and the addition while also creating a social commons for users. The school needed a new entrance and so space at one end of the gallery opens onto parking and a safe student drop off area. The other end of the gallery accesses the schoolyard.

The addition consists of a large gymnasium and 5 kindergarten classrooms.  We put the kindergarten classes in the ground floor to accommodate mandated kindergarten requirements. The children have easy access to their own play yard and parent drop off area. We put in radiant heat flooring, a benefit for kids who spend so much time sitting on the floor. The gymnasium replaced two smaller gyms in the old building. It needed to be a large regulation-sized space with modern equipment that could accommodate sports events. Other requirements also meant that we wouldn’t be able to put it in the heritage building, specifically the state of the art sound system, sprung hardwood floors, a fold down stage, and glass basketball backstops that retract to the ceiling.

The restored original school is primarily classrooms and an administrative block on the first floor, with a new library and classrooms placed in the auditorium space on the second floor. The Kindergarten classrooms are contemporary, light filled spaces. Through grades 1 to 4, the restored classrooms within the original 1913 school feature high ceilings, tall windows, hardwood floors, and whiteboards framed by the heritage wood trim of the original slate chalkboards. In grades 5 to 8, the new classrooms are on the second floor of the 1913 school. 

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