Owner: Lambton Kent District School Board
Location: Sarnia, Ontario
Size: 20,000 sf
Northern Collegiate Institute was in need of new, modernized lab spaces to support its advanced science programs. The school was also seeking ways of creating a new frontage and public face of the school, one that can revitalize the image of the aging school building. Through intelligent planning and a refined design sensibility, JPT created an addition that enlivens the students and welcomes the surrounding community.
Conceptually, this addition draws inspiration from the school’s name and heritage to give meaning to the architecture of the extensive laboratory additions. The large mass of science labs, float 12ft above ground level. The outer skin of these labs is formed with a gentle outward bow – a metaphor to a “vessel” (Viking ship). This sweeping curve continues westward to give shape to the main lobby where a sculptural volume inspired by the form of a “sail”, wraps the new two storey volume. Housed within, a new expanded exit stair provides additional volume to the new entrance. Above, a metal sculpture of a Viking standing on a platform connects to the roof column and overlooks visitors and students as they enter the newly revamped school.
To compliment the two main volumes, a continuous free-standing canopy with support colonnade fronts the labs and continues across to the entrance lobby. The canopy provides shade, shelter and many informal gathering spaces for students and staff. The four labs, comprising the main component of the addition, are separated from the entrance volume by one classroom. This void carves out an intimate courtyard space adjacent to the entrance. A site strategy has configured the bus-drop and fire route and moved them to the south in order to accommodate a large green space for outdoor gatherings.