École secondaire de la Nouvelle-Ère in Gatineau
Our team was responsible for the design of this new high school with a capacity of 810 students for the Commission Scolaire des Portages de l'Outaouais. Inaugurated in December 2021, this new facility was built on the site of a former golf course and near an aquatic center in the Aylmer sector in response to strong demographic growth in the region.
10 895 m² / 37 M$
2017 — 2023
The volumetric composition of the building is simple and the functions revolve around a large gathering space opened on two of the school's three floors. Following an L-shaped plan, the school has 27 classrooms, 4 specialized spaces for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), 6 labs, 3 art classes, a music class, a computer/robotics class, an employment market class, a double gymnasium, a library, and administrative and support spaces. With its many windowed areas, the school offers users a beautiful connection to the outdoors and surrounding nature.
"With its large openings to the outside, the école secondaire Nouvelle-Ère in Gatineau is very bright. The plan is organized around a double-height atrium, the most animated space in the facility. This space is bathed in natural light and is bordered by a monumental staircase and a mezzanine corridor leading to the classrooms and the library. Opening onto the rear courtyard with a series of benches at its perimeter, it creates a natural amphitheater in continuity with the exterior."
Architect and Director, Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes
École secondaire de la Nouvelle-Ère's Lead Designer
The school is accessible from Fraser Road and a large entrance is dedicated for students. This reception area divides the first floor into two parts: the gymnasium and locker rooms on one side, and the large atrium and food services on the other. The long part of the building houses mainly the classrooms, which are distributed on both sides of a wide corridor with large windows at its ends. This simple organization in plan offers great visibility and contributes to the safety of the students. This area is also served by three staircases that ensure fluidity and efficiency of the circulation.
A green roof is positioned at the junction of the volume containing the gymnasium in order to offer, among other things, a pleasant view to some classrooms on the third level.
"I couldn't have hoped to have a rooftop terrace, so I think it's next level, really. Beyond the fact that it's a beautiful school, it's obvious, everyone agrees on that, and that it will meet a need that is, let's say, crying out, beautiful spaces like the school here, it generates something other than just wonder. It prompts creativity, productivity, the desire to surpass oneself. Whether we are young at school or adults in our professional lives, when we are in beautiful places, it makes us want to give our 110%."
Minister responsible for the Outaouais region
The library, located on the mezzanine, overlooks the atrium and has access to an outdoor rooftop terrasse for the use of students and teachers.
About the work of art
The first part of the work —three wall elements of 1,19 m diameter in painted aluminum— evokes the geological formation as a metaphor of the process of learning. The strata that compose them represent different school subjects and the colors used are those of the school. On the way to the large atrium, we find the second part of the work, a large mirror-polished aluminum appliqué measuring 5.34 m in diameter. Inspired by the layout of a double pendulum, which is usually chaotic, this part of the work evokes the possibility of multiple paths.
"A link is thus established with the pathways of the students, who with a little effort and perseverance will make their own way. Every journey is unique. Although we must sometimes fail, we must get caught up in the game and use many paths to get to where we want to be, to learn..."
"I am delighted with the opening of École secondaire de la Nouvelle-Ère, which had become essential to meet the strong demographic growth in the Aylmer sector. I would like to thank all of the partners who have provided the students and staff with a beautiful, modern school with an inspiring environment that is conducive to learning and academic success."
Executive Director of CSSPO
The gymnasium has a separate entrance so that citizens can enjoy this sports facility outside of school hours.