A4 submitted a proposal for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau School in the Village d’Argentine area of Gatineau. We had a great time working on this proposal.
Being our first competition in Quebec, we worked as a team to bring out the strengths of our design and technical team. Although we are not finalists in the competition, we still wanted to present our proposal.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School; a symbol of social inclusion.
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau School’s name and signature Bauhaus architecture, commemorate the values to which it aspires; human dignity, diversity and social inclusion of those who attend the school and the surrounding community. In this regard, a significant proportion of the school’s students are First Nations. It is therefore essential to value their culture and to transmit it to the community. The community values a close relationship with the Earth on an individual and collective level. Moreover, our architectural proposal was deeply guided by the medicine wheel, a spiritual symbol of the First Nations. The zones of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School have been thought out in relation to the path of the sun and the seasons.
The holistic heart as an anchor.
The dome represents a central aspect of the architectural design and responds to the concept of the medicine wheel. Thanks to its glazed top, an important technical challenge, this space will allow a close link with the sun’s path, thus revealing the holistic heart of the school. Its signage entrance will transport the first arrivals straight to this multi-purpose space which will be the entrance and exit door to the daycare. A cultural hall, a place of gathering, exchange and sharing, this space represents an anchor for the community.
The east and the rising sun.
The east is associated with sunshine, spring and early childhood. For these reasons, the kindergarten area takes advantage of this orientation within our architectural proposal. From the holistic heart of the school, the kindergarten area will be accessed from the east, which will include an interior shared space, classrooms with a pedagogical group area and a quiet zone, as well as an extension of the classrooms in the form of an exterior terrace. This last space will open onto the courtyard dedicated to the kindergartens in order to connect their entire holistic educational environment. In this way, the children will enjoy the sunshine to warm up and be guided in discovery, learning and play.
The south and the garden of abundance.
At the peak of day, as in the summer season, the spring seeds are transformed. The earth offers its fruits, allowing children to develop their senses. This is where the different sites dedicated to food and agriculture will be located. By arranging the vegetable garden in small distinct islands linked by paths and by adding tables, we create a peaceful and natural place to recharge and have fun. From the vegetable garden, through the kitchen and into the dining room, children will learn to cultivate and nourish their being and share their harvest with the community. Knowing that the school term ends before the completion of the full cycle of seasons, citizen participation will be an essential asset to the flowering of the green spaces surrounding the school.
The west is the time of harvest.
The experience of the first seasons brings a certain level of maturity in the child and he can finally pick his first crops. It is therefore to the west that all the primary classes will be located. Although this sector is more independent in terms of teaching spaces and collaboration, it is still connected to the whole school. On one side by the west-east corridor and on the other side by the play bridge, whose wooden structure will recall native techniques, connecting their collaborative space to the central holistic space. In addition, the outdoor play areas will be improved while maintaining the soccer and soccer fields, which are highly valued by the community.
The North, a place of retrospection.
Winter brings a cooler and slower atmosphere to the school. Many passive strategies such as solar shading, thermal insulation and buffer zones will be integrated to increase the comfort of the spaces and their use throughout the year. The sports and motor development rooms will allow users to purify themselves through meditation, but also physical exercise as it allows them to clear their minds and warm up well. The area to the north of the school is also the home of the school’s great sages; the school’s staff. In their offices, projects will be simmering to be born at the dawn of spring.