The new Mulgrave Senior School in West Vancouver, B.C., designed by Vancouver’s HDR | CEI Architecture, has been honoured with the 2016 Pinnacle Award from the Association of Learning Environments (A4LE), Pacific Northwest Region.
The annual award is the highest honour given by the chapter, recognizing facilities that provide outstanding learning environments for students. The award was selected based on the evaluation of a facility’s learning environment, physical environment and capacity for community integration.
A jury comprised of education and design professionals lauded Mulgrave for its strength in all three categories.
“Mulgrave Senior School displays many of the principles of the 21st Century Learning methodology —both learning and teaching,” said Judy Shoemaker, past president and board member of the Association for Learning Environments, Pacific Northwest Region.
“The facility scored very highly in the learning environment criteria by providing a variety of open, collaborative and stimulating educational spaces,” Shoemaker added.
The 42,000-square-foot Senior School features a bright and spacious new main entrance atrium, a “Great Hall” dining room, a roof garden with an outdoor theatre space, art exhibition area, and innovative module-based approach to classrooms.
The classrooms at Mulgrave Senior School support various learning styles through flexible configurations, with smaller collaborative areas and larger group spaces that are responsive to a variety of pedagogical styles. Learning spaces are equipped with flatscreen monitors, projection screens and projectors to facilitate flexible instruction and learning.
Wide, non-linear arteries (rather than straight corridors) surrounded by niches and nooks offer a number of options for students to collaborate, talk, relax or work independently in safe, supervise-able spaces.
Shoemaker noted: “The variety and flexibility for learning and engagement was really well met. If methods of learning and pedagogy shift over time, Mulgrave School can be easily reconfigured.”
Sustainable features include a fully accessible green roof that provides stormwater retention and roof insulation, and serves as an outdoor play area and learning space. The green roof creates green space in what was previously a hard surface.
Extensive natural light, passive ventilation and solar hot water heating provide further sustainable elements along with a comfortable interior environment.
“We are honoured that our project has been recognized with this award,” said Rod Windjack, senior vice president with HDR | CEI and principal on the project.
“It was designed to achieve a university campus feel within a secondary school context, and we incorporated many features to emphasize learning and engagement inside and outside the classroom.”