Toronto Catholic District School Board

Monsignor Fraser College

Upper Jarvis, Toronto

Monsignor Fraser College is part of an innovative multi-campus program that addresses high school students with special needs as well as mature students returning to complete a degree in a small-scale, flexible learning environment. At the campus in Scarborough, the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) entered into a mutually beneficial agreement with Youth Challenge Fund’s Redemption Reintegration Services (RRS) to share the new facility. The building program is an atypical layout with a central study space surrounded by small classrooms that can function as after-hour seminar and meeting rooms. The design also incorporates a central, open kitchen/lounge area that helps to foster a sense of community. Although the College is essentially a new construction, its linkage to an existing TCDSB secondary school made it technically an addition, which simplified the process of meeting Ontario Building Code requirements. Final construction cost was within 2% of tendered construction cost.

St Antoine Daniel Catholic School

North York, Ontario

This new, 511-pupil elementary school replaces an existing school and adds a childcare centre accommodating 88 children. Wi ted communal
spaces, the design leverages the learning potential of all spaces in the school—from classrooms to hallways to main gathering spaces—and provides exceptional programmatic flexibility.

Site constraints necessitated a tight, rectangular plan very different from the high perimeter-to-area ratio often used to maximize schools’ access to natural light. At St. Antoine Daniel, however, the clerestory-windowed gymnasium at the centre of the plan works in tandem with a double-height open assembly area between the main entry and the gym to act as an enclosed ‘courtyard’ volume that brings natural light deep into the floor plate.

On the main floor at St. Antoine Daniel, large windows provide views into the gym from the double-height assembly area. On the second floor, the learning commons, which occupies what would conventionally be plain-and-simple corridor space, overlooks the assembly area and also has views into the gym. The library is a
lockable volume on the perimeter adjacent to the learning commons; even when the library is closed, the learning commons provides spill-out space for other activities, and can be directly accessed from two classrooms. Elsewhere, similar attention to how spaces open onto one another maximizes flexibility: the general purpose room can be used independently or connected to the gym to serve as a stage; a garage door opens a classroom onto the general assembly area; and double doors align with across-the corridor alcoves so that teachers can supervise students in these breakout areas.

On this tightly constrained site, we have also come up with a safe and innovative way to transform the bus drop-off zone to a play yard and an outdoor classroom. Gates bordering the loading zone prevent access to the outdoor classroom at the times of day when loading/unloading occur. Similarly, a gate between the parking lot and the loading zone prevents vehicles from approaching the outdoor classroom during the school day.