South Langford Elementary School
South Langford Elementary School is a new school designed for 480 Grade 1 to 5 and 80 kindergarten students. The 4,178 sq m four-storey building is oriented east to west to take advantage of natural lighting as well as maximize useable space on a smaller-than-average sloping site. The school includes 16 classrooms and four kindergarten spaces, along with a daycare. A full-sized soccer field is situated on the west side of the site.
The design team wanted to inspire students to explore their environment through natural play and discovery. The school is imagined as a tree house embedded into the rugged terrain on one side and perched on the other side, with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. The façade is an articulation of the light that filters through the vertical gaps between the trees in a forest.
There is a strong focus on sustainability with this project, with a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through extensive use of mass timber, increased insulation in wall assemblies, strategic use of heat pumps and heat recovery systems, and photovoltaic cells on the roof. The mass timber structure visually matches the project’s sustainability ambitions, and reduces embodied carbon in construction.