From the glade-courtyard to the forest: two worlds to discover
The contrasting worlds of the courtyard and the forest are expressed in their programs. Daily recreational activities take place in the controlled area of the courtyard, which is easily accessible and characterized by hard surfaces that are easy to maintain. Outside of the courtyard area are the more free-form activities in the wilderness. Physical activity is encouraged and there is bicycle storage.
The courtyard is the heart of the school and the heart of the community because it is located in the center of the site and is surrounded by school and community buildings. It offers various areas and surfaces for play and discovery, as well as innovative learning spaces that invite movement.
Outside, nature becomes a learning space. The interventions are minimal in order to preserve the natural heritage and let biodiversity flourish. There are trails and three forest zones: the maple grove, the birch forest and the pine forest, each offering an activity: an open learning structure reminiscent of the sugar shack, a small amphitheatre, a place of refuge and play, and a wooden platform at the foot of the trees to rest or hold an outdoor class.
Mounds reusing the earth excavated from the construction work create landforms on the periphery of the site. They become playgrounds in the landscape near the pastures. Sheep, goats and other animals graze on them, providing a soothing environment for children.
Sustainable development and building approach
The proposal is part of a sustainable development approach through the reuse of soils, the choice of materials and a bioclimatic architecture for an efficient management of energy resources. The orientation and layout of the pavilions as well as the double heights allow the deployment of passive systems, thus ensuring comfort all year round. Trees in front of the facades reduce heat islands and act as natural sunshades for the classrooms. Rainwater from the buildings, runoff, percolation or infiltration is also treated with care.
The materials used are healthy, easy to maintain, natural and local (wood, concrete, stone) and the orthogonal grid allows flexible spaces. As the pavilion typology requires a large quantity of materials for the exterior walls, economical construction strategies are deployed such as the use of traditional construction techniques and prefabrication for an efficient use of materials and labor.