Independent School Competition

As a competition entry, this architectural design is for a contemporary sports and wellness centre at a Canadian independent school campus. Rooted in a Neo-Rationalism design principle—Genius Loci—it explores historical and vernacular elements, adapting their common characteristics to create a new building—one that embodies ‘the spirit of the place.’

Interrupted by expansive quads, the campus hosts a cloister of architectural styles, dating back to 1891. Historic, Romanesque Revival buildings sit next to Georgians, fused with modern additions. They share heavily articulated, well proportioned, brick masonry compositions. The campus also boasts a rich sense of community founded in the school’s mission, values, and teaching philosophy.

These three characteristics—context, composition, and community—inform the new architecture. Connecting two campus precincts, the new two-level wing follows the undulating site topography beneath a folded roof geometry. Informed by the proportions and compositions of the historic campus, the copper roof unfolds as a reference to the architectural context. Its mass-timber structure peaks, introducing natural light and campus views. Future-oriented, the roof system integrates photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy for the facility.

The first floor contains an aquatic centre, a double gymnasium, a health centre, administrative offices, and a passage to an underground parking facility. On the second floor, an interior concourse provides collegial connections; on the east, an open loggia overlooks the adjacent playing fields. Terminated by stairs at both ends, the concourse features bay windows with seating nooks, a dynamic dining hall, and terrace amphitheaters for social gatherings, informal teaching, or assembly. At grade, this expressive building creates new outdoor learning spaces. The result is a vibrant destination for the collegiate community and a contemporary building that represents the spirit of this historic, Canadian place.

Completion 2019


Renderings Diamond Schmitt Architects


Team See full project team