Avinash Garde, Partner
The Toronto Catholic District School Board retained Snyder Architects to design the replacement St. Conrad Catholic Elementary School. The new elementary school reinvigorates its neighbourhood by reaching out to the community through student-centred design that focuses on sustainability.
Conceived for the net generation, it marries innovation with high design through a bold fusion of resilient every-day building materials re-imagined and forms that echo light and warmth. With streaming daylight and views to the outside, the layout fosters an open, transparent environment within the school that visually integrates it with its site and outdoor playing fields. A bright soaring atrium connects the multi-story academic wing to the shared community spaces; corridors are shorter, with abundant natural light and punctuated with breakout spaces to encourage learning beyond the classroom.
The design sets the environmental standard for elementary schools with in-floor radiant heating systems, displacement ventilation, systems, high performance glazing and lighting, occupancy sensors, external shading devices, ballasted roofs for urban heat island reduction and drought tolerant landscaping. A cutting edge design, St. Conrad CES was one of the first schools affected by the then newly introduced Toronto Green Design Standards; it entailed a comprehensive public consultation process and it was successfully built on a brownfield site in Toronto. In-floor radiant heating and displacement ventilation system played a key role in meeting the sustainability goals.
This replacement school was funded under the prohibitive to repair funding model and had to be built while the existing school was also operating on the same site. The construction was phased so that the new building was built on the existing play area while the existing building continued to operate. When the new building was complete, the school moved into the new structure, the existing school was demolished and the space converted into the new play ground.
This was one of the first new public projects in the community for a long time and it was consciously designed to kickstart its regeneration. The design was was publicly nominated for the 2013 PUG Award which attest to its success in meeting this objective.