Simcoe County District School Board

Simcoe County District School Board Chris Hadfield Public School

The Chris Hadfield Public School presents an iconic façade at the corner of main intersections for the Town of Bradford. The arterial route links other key institutional buildings, including the new public library and new creation and wellness centre, to form a civic district, reinforcing community pride and identity. From the outset, the Board wanted the design to acknowledge Chris Hadfield Public School’s Canadian astronaut namesake, while the municipal planners wanted to highlight the area’s agricultural heritage. Our open-minded design approach and pragmatic selection of materials reconciles these aims in an inspiring way.

Cost-effective concrete plank cladding on the upper floor above durable masonry at grade along the school’s main street looks barn-like yet modern, while the gravity-defying cantilevered entry canopy and star-like scattering of windows into the gym allude to Chris Hadfield’s achievements in space. Throughout the school, we used colour as a way-finding device that welcomes students and orients them to their new home.

At the programming level, LGA took the conventional requirements from the Ministry of Education and connected them with corridors filled with natural light and room for informal interaction and connective transparency. These “found” circulation spaces are turned into social arteries, providing additional opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. The school board is a client with many stakeholders, including educational/program review, facilities and maintenance. They all have their own criteria within the school design, which requires clear communication and strong collaborative skills to manage.