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Elementary School, Whitehorse

  • Client
    Government of Yukon / Ketza Construction
  • Location
    Whitehorse, YT
  • Completion


This new elementary school (client confidential) is a design-build project that will be delivered in conjunction with Ketza Construction and Northern Front Studio, Thinkspace’s architectural partner in Whitehorse; the indicative design for this project was completed by Kobayashi Zedda Architects. The school will accommodate 425 students from kindergarten to Grade 7.

Twenty-first century learning principles, which promote open, collaborative learning environments, feature prominently in the design. Future expansion has been planned into the design, with the possibility of adding four more classrooms at a later date.  One particularly unique feature is the three outdoor learning classrooms, which allow students to learn about the natural world outside the confines of a classroom. These concepts are further enhanced through the inclusion of First Peoples Learning Principles, which incorporate Yukon First Nations culture into the educational design process.

Non-combustible construction was chosen over mass timber to maximize the lifespan of the building in this climate; wood elements will be introduced where possible to bring warmth into the building.

Building in the north had challenges for the design team to overcome, including snow loading on the roof, as well as snow drifts, water ingress, and insulation requirements that far exceed those in southern climates.