Lawrence Grassi Middle School
Leading the push for sustainability.
CLIENT Canadian Rockies School Division
LOCATION Canmore, AB
The new École Lawrence Grassi Middle School in Canmore is a replacement of the historic Lawrence Grassi School. The school demonstrates how a rational and cost-effective design utilizing regional materials, notably wood and stone, can create a durable and functional school building. The new facility integrates historical components of the original school such as significant doors and frames.
One of the significant issues encountered during design was concern by the community about the new school’s proximity to adjacent houses. The geometry of the site and location of the existing school resulted in the new building being close to several houses where it could block mountain views. A detailed sightline analysis was undertaken. The result places taller elements, such as the gymnasium, further away from the adjacent residences. The classroom wing was also sloped downwards to further minimize its visual impact.
Lawrence Grassi School is the first Net Zero certified school in Canada. To meet Net Zero requirements, buildings must achieve a high degree of energy efficiency. Lawrence Grassi Middle School achieved this through a high level of insulation in the SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) roof and wood framed walls, and an efficient mechanical system that used a tempered slab and displacement air distribution. This achievement exceeded the LEED Silver requirements for the project without additional costs.