“The Strawberry Vale School is located in a semi-rural community. The program includes 16 classrooms, a gymnasium, a library, and other spaces typical of an elementary school.
An important feature of the site is a Garry Oak, a rare and threatened species of tree. The classrooms are arranged alongside the woodland, so that the woodland is preserved and its importance emphasized through visual connection. The classrooms are grouped in pods, which creates a series of in-between spaces, both interior and exterior, that support a wide variety of activities. In addition to responding to conventional programmatic requirements, the school gives architectural form to environmental forces. The hydrology of the site is carefully developed. Rainwater from the building is collected and discharged into a linear watercourse, where it is carried to a shallow marsh and naturally cleansed by the water plants.
Heating and lighting systems are designed, using computer modeling techniques, to optimize the use of solar energy: through passive heat gain, and, through the controlled placement of windows, clerestories, and skylights combined with reflective interior surfaces to distribute sunlight evenly throughout the interior spaces.
Materials for the building are selected to maximize environmental quality and minimize the amount of embodied energy. For this reason claddings have been kept to a minimum leaving much of the primary construction exposed.”
“In 1989, facing severe overcrowding, outdated spaces, and high operating costs in their existing 1950s building, the District of North Vancouver Council initiated an expansion and redevelopment program. The project was viewed as an opportunity to renew not just the facility, but also the manner in which Council served to the public. By reorganizing its departments, public spaces, and staff facilities, Council aimed to create a new environment of openness and availability.
Busby Perkins+Will’s revitalization orients the new facility around a light-filled three-storey atrium. A refined palette of natural finish concrete, clear glass, anodized aluminum, white steel, and beech wood is both contemporary and inviting. Custom detailing, including exterior louvres, stair treads, hand rails, and glazing supports, provide a level of elegance appropriate for a public facility.”