Project Page – Churchland Primary + Intermediate School

Churchland Primary and Intermediate_Project Banner

Churchland Primary + Intermediate


Education, Additions + Renovations


HRACRE Award of Merit for Interiors

Built in the 1970’s, Churchland Primary + Intermediate is an “open classroom – pod style” school that had received minimum upgrades over the years and the mechanical systems had exceeded their life expectancy. The media center, positioned in the center of the building was a dark and uninspiring space that did not support the educational program, the toilet facility spaces were not accessible or constructed of waterproof surface materials, and the school was built without a gymnasium.

VIA was tasked with providing limited upgrades to this dated facility with improvements to include, a new gymnasium, new site circulation, renovated toilet facilities, a renovated media center, new mechanical, and new lighting. The main circulation pathways and actual classroom educational spaces were not included in the scope beyond painting finishes and new ceilings because of the limited budget. Needless to say; a challenging framework of tasks to infuse a successful family of changes with so much of the existing palette to remain as is. To add to the challenge, all of the work needed to be completed while the school was being occupied.

The Media Center takes a positive spin with its positon at the hub of the school and acts as a model for the future with its fresh expression of materiality and form. The central location of the Media Center allows this to be a focal point and organizational element for all of the classroom “pods” which surround this space. The undulating wall separating the Media Center from the corridor is activated with circular windows and openings to provide view and connection as well as child-sized spaces for students to interact with, which encourages the students passing by to peek in and experience the fun factor of learning in a place like this. The Media Center was discovered to have high bay roof framing, so this extra volume was taken advantage of by elevating the ceiling height and adding floating ceiling clouds and light fixtures that define and separate the activity spaces within the media center.  The new gymnasium served a dual purpose; providing a better and brighter student entrance to the school and providing a bright, multi-purpose gym that could be used by the school and the community. 

While limited in its renovations, Churchland P+I demonstrates VIA’s ability to navigate a limited budget, a challenging set of existing conditions, and a complex phased schedule, all while delivering a modernized school that promotes a fresh, 21st century feel.  It sets the stage for any future renovations and modernizations, allowing this school to remain relevant for years to come.  

Project Gallery

Main Entrance

Main Entrance Before Renovation

View From Main Entrance

Interior Of The Main Entrance


Library And Hallway

Library Before Renovation


previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
previous arrownext arrow