Both projects apply to LEED certification and develop an approach rooted in biophilia—symbolized by the tree planted in their central courtyards. This is the meeting point of two strong axes within the layout of the buildings :
- the first connects the public square to the sports area on the ground floor
- the second positions the main entrance at a slightly lower level than the outdoor amenities.
The areas surrounding the courtyard thereby benefit from a natural framing which changes with the seasons. These areas are open and brightly-lit, with fluid and non-hierarchical circulation to encourage collective activities.
Many sustainable strategies contribute to the ecological characteristics of the construction, such as the inclusion of vegetation, maximizing of natural light, rainwater management, encouragement of active transportation, installation of a geothermal system, etc.
The building envelopes feature wood, aluminum, concrete and natural stone. Materials with low VOC content and emissions are used for the interiors, thereby contributing to improved air quality.
The projects’ great sensitivity to the environment and the omnipresence of their dedicated spatial and technical devices make them valuable educational tools. Their integration of vegetation, their access to natural light and the quality of their views provide a better learning environment for students and school staff. Strategies that emphasize health and well-being improve daily life.
Photo credit: Ulysse Lemerise / OSA images + Raphaël Thibodeau + NEUF