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Mar Jok Elementary School

  • Client
    School District No. 23 (Central Okanagan)
  • Location
    West Kelowna, BC
  • Size
    3,935 sq m
  • Completion
  • Photographer
    Michael Hintringer


Mar Jok Elementary School is a new 460-student elementary school and Neighbourhood Learning Centre in West Kelowna. The 3,935 sq m school, named after a community pioneer, was an innovative departure from the traditional arrangement of classrooms along a locker-lined corridor when it was designed.

A central administrative core branches out into four groups of 19 classrooms, located around four project areas. Associated learning spaces vary in shape, size, function, and character. They are intended for collaboration, hands-on learning through activity, and experimentation alongside traditional instruction. The design acknowledges different learning styles, and supports the delivery of differentiated instructional methodologies.

Common use areas – a gym, multi-purpose room, and three kindergartens – are located on the main floor level near the front of the school. Extensive use of glass and mass timber beams and columns makes the building visually distinctive both inside and out.

Twenty-first century learning design principles from Mar Jok, particularly the idea of learning communities, provided the design inspiration for Douglas, Maddaugh Road, and Edgewood schools in Surrey.

Mar Jok was the recipient of the 2014 Tommie Gold Award, as well as the 2015 Pacific Northwest Region Pinnacle Award – Project of Distinction.