Education | Ontario

École Michel Dupuis (Riverside South Elementary School)

Ottawa, Ontario

École Michel Dupuis (Riverside South Elementary School) is a JK-6 school for 211 students with a Daycare facility designed for another 39 children. The school image was intended for children, and designed to look as a fun place to go every day. The exterior of the school uses bright colours and basic forms to express elementary learning tools. The school design was influenced by 21st century teaching principles and the CEPEO’s commitment to ISO 14001.

ISO 14001 was the generator of the architectural form and intended as a teaching tool. The bold sloping roofs over the library and main entrance read as an open book supported on a yellow pencil. The purpose of the forms is to express rainwater management as and environmental factor by funnelling rain and melting snow over a waterfall and into a trough that spills the water into a vibrantly landscaped stormwater management pond at the front of the school. An instructional green roof was introduced into a break between two second floor rooms. The green roof is visible from the upper corridor through a large window that lets light into the 2 storey high atrium space behind it. The green roof is screened by a playful curving form with circular openings and it is anticipated that birds may nest in this area permitting another up close learning opportunity for young students. Brightly coloured sunscreens protect south facing windows to control natural light and enliven an otherwise dull grey concrete wall. Associated with the sunscreens are coloured window film used as an architectural teaching element for understanding light and the mixing of colour.

The school uses tilt-up concrete as the primary structural system and building envelope for the walls. This early design decision was made based on the CEPEO’s evidence of reduced energy costs from their other school using this system.

The design included a multipurpose library with a bold red academic stair that is used for school gatherings, teaching and paper airplane practice. The library will be used for musical performances because of the acoustical benefits of a library and the ability for the academic stair to hold large audiences. The floors in the school are polished concrete to eliminate ongoing waxing and replacement of traditional vinyl floors.