Heritage Mountain Middle School
The underlying goal of the new middle school design is to create an environment for learning that captivates the imagination of the students and actively encourages exploration and growth. The space intends to simultaneously stimulate teachers, staff and visitors through their experience within the school. The result is a design that creates a series of carefully considered, light-filled spaces which seamlessly integrate into the natural landscape.
Rather than advancing with a response based on the idea of “teaching”, the design team consciously redirected point of view and formalized a creative response from the standpoint of “learning”. Understanding the manner in which children learn, interpret and discover our world provided the underlying methodology for the design of the new middle school which focused on education through interaction. This approach was a fundamental means of informing and ultimately formalizing an architectural response which was a direct result of the act of interpretation and discovery. It allowed the design team to approach the design process without preconception or reticence. The derivative is a design which innovatively responds to the specific program, the client’s needs, budget constraints and simultaneously addresses the unique challenges of this particular site. As a synthesis, the product is a design concept which places emphasis on student exploration and provides a learning-based environment which has been conceived “through the eyes of the students”.
The tiered building design is characterized by an earth-bermed lower level which supports the elevated main classroom level where the building effectively acts as a new connective link between the upper Anmore Village and the lower Port Moody side adjacent to an existing Secondary School. The main level of the school is a “U-shaped” configuration where the two primary classroom wings and the centrally located library open onto a common elevated courtyard space which optimally binds the program spaces in which students learn.
Heritage Mountain Middle School received a 2011 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence.
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