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McLean + Associates | Architects

McLean + Associates | ArchitectsMcLean + Associates | Architects is proud to have been selected as the Prime Architectural Consultant for the design of the Dr. David Suzuki Public School; a school that will incorporate cutting edge and innovative environmental and energy efficient technologies with the intent of achieving LEED Platinum Certification.

Established in 1981, McLean + Associates | Architects specializes in the planning and design of residential, commercial, religious and institutional work with commitment toward producing innovative architecture. The sculptural quality of space and how natural light gives it life is a continuous exploration.

The design of the school was a collaborative process requiring intense discussion and coordination with various stakeholders. The Project Team's research, selection and integration of various technologies, materials and systems, including LEED design requirements, was ongoing and evolving throughout the process.

Cost analysis for the provision of various technologies, including the physical building design and structure was under continuous review responding to the Owner's objectives and construction budget.

A primary objective was to create a facility which would serve as a Demonstration Site for energy conservation and environmental design, including the provision of demonstration truth windows, construction wall displays, analytical display panels, transparent views to an internal recycle room and exposed construction.

Our design intent was to create a school with expressionistic form, one that would inspire and speak about technology in a literal way. Arrays of solar photovoltaic panels, prominent and iconic, are expressed conceptually on the school. Along the front fa├žade they provide shelter to the school as a main entrance canopy and sunscreen device. A metaphorical tree structure provides support for the canopy with a steel branch structure as a poetic gesture. Other highly visible technologies include wind turbines, display control monitors, green roofs, Solarwall panels, bicycle generators, solar hot water heating panels and a Geothermal system.

The building design is about movement and energy, non-static architecture, incorporating cantilevers, interconnected floor spaces, layering and displacement.

Good architecture brings new character to places, people and institutions. The site design was to incorporate the school within a new naturalized landscaped setting, composed of earth berms, bio-swales, native rocks, specialized turf areas, shrubs and native trees for shade and sun protection, with sensitivity to the street, neighbourhood and community.

Various daylighting solutions and devices are integrated in the design, including provision of clerestory windows, skylights, light tubes, translucent glazing units, light shelves and large perimeter window systems. Natural light is captured from clerestory windows illuminating interconnected first and second floor classrooms and corridor spaces, through floor openings and penetrations.

Additionally, the School Board's Design Theme of Earth Keepers with a focus on conservation and environmental issues was integrated into the design as individual Biomes reflecting the diverse natural environments of Canada: Arctic, Temperate /Carolinian Forest, Prairie and Mountain.

We would like to thank the Greater Essex County District School Board for the opportunity to design such a challenging and environmentally responsible facility and congratulate them for their leadership and commitment.


Greater Essex County District School Board