As part of the Bishop Strachan School’s vision, the 90,000 sq ft Transformation Project has been designed to serve the school well into the twenty-first century. Based upon configuring facilities to meet the school’s strategic priorities, and tailoring those facilities to suit advanced programming and student-oriented activities, the project has been realized through a combination of new building construction and renovations.
The new addition features a 4-storey building with a mezzanine gallery and several outdoor terraces. The new Idea Labs and Athletics Wing feature 9 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) labs / workshops, student collaboration spaces, lecture hall, teaching resources, dance / aerobics studio, reception hall, viewing gallery, and a double gymnasium.
The renovation components involved converting the old gymnasium into the new Arts Wing with a multi-purpose performing arts theatre, music / band rehearsal hall, practice rooms, ensemble room, and art studio. Additional programming includes a new entrance and atrium, active green roof, and outdoor terraces.
Based on a key objective of recognizing the school’s heritage and urban context, the building respects the current aesthetics of the existing campus buildings and the height / scale of adjacent heritage buildings. The new Centre is a connector of technological innovation, wellness, and collaboration. Natural light and transparency of spaces was critical in creating a collaborative and energizing environment for the girls, while promoting visibility and presence to the public.
Technological innovations such as the fully automated performing arts theatre and STEM labs provide girls with new resources and equipment. While wellness components such as the dance / aerobics studio, wellness centre, and gymnasium promote health and wellbeing amongst the student body.
A series of internal walkways and adjoining collaboration spaces, interconnected between the floors, encourages students, staff, and faculty to pass by, see, and be inspired by the advances in technology and wellness activities. The interior of the gymnasium, theatre, and music hall are defined by a rich palette of finishes, while the learning centres, commons, informal study spaces, and art studio are flooded with natural daylight; not only connecting girls to the exterior fields and lush greens, but also within program spaces.
The mass of the building is anchored into the existing 1930’s and 1918 structures with a similar language and palette. Exterior terraces allow for outdoor events and gathering, and several pathways and courtyards create moments for social interaction.
This project has been nominated for a 2019 Heritage Toronto Award.
Independent School Consultant: Andrew Incorporated Architect
Photography: Michael Muraz