UBC Graduate Research

public-school Kals, Krista 2020-12

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public-school Krista Kals Bachelor of Science University of Waterloo, 2014 Bachelor of Architectural Science British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2018 Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture in the Faculty of Applied Science School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Architecture Program Committee: Mari Fujita  |  chair Tijana Vujosevic  |  internal Cindy Wilson  |  external University of British Columbia © Krista Kals  |  December 2020 This thesis explores the interface between a secondary school and community centre in Vancouver’s West End through the model of place-based learning, which emphasizes connection between students, their environment, and the surrounding community. Recognizing that learning is both context-dependent and inherently social, the school is reimagined as an essential piece of urban infrastructure within its neighbourhood. The new public school is positioned as a truly public facility, eschewing the school’s traditional hermetic boundaries in favour of a porosity aimed at cultivating human connection. abstract iiiii viv list of figures 01   -   The portable problem. 02   -   School through time. 03   -   Timeline on the evolution of public education in Canada. 04   -   School typology #1: 1920s - 40s. 05   -   School typology #2: 1950s - 80s. 06   -   School typology #3: 1990s - today. 07   -   Evolution of classroom configurations. 08   -   From local to global. 09   -   The new BC secondary school curriculum (2015). 10   -   Standardization of space. 11   -   Map of Vancouver’s secondary schools and catchment areas. 12   -   Map of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods with projected density  for the next 20 years. 13   -   Map of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods with student enrollment  for the next 20 years. 14   -   The school’s daily patterns of use. 15   -   The school’s annual patterns of use. 16   -   Fun Palace. 17   -   Centre Pompidou. 18   -   Seattle Public Library. 19   -   Ryerson Student Learning Centre. 20   -   Site context with existing secondary schools and catchment  areas. 21   -   Neighbourhood site context. 22   -   West End rent-own comparison with other neighbourhoods  in Vancouver. 23   -   West End demographic statistics. 24   -   Existing site plan. 25   -   Existing site axonometric. 26   -   Concept vignette. 27   -   Parti. 28   -   Separated planes. 29   -   Place-based learning methodology 30   -   Place-based learning by subject and grade. 31   -   Science. by author 32   -   Social Studies. 33   -   Physical and Health Education. 34   -   Applied Skills. 35   -   Arts. 36   -   English. 37   -   School network. 38   -   Program. 39   -   Massing and form. 40   -   Elevator core. 41   -   Exit stair. 42   -   Public circulation. 43   -   Student stair. 44   -   Transparency. 45   -   Building axonometric. 46   -   Building section. 47   -   Level 1 plan. 48   -   Level 2 plan. 49   -   Level 3 plan. 50   -   Level 4 plan. 51   -   Level 5 plan. 52   -   Level 6 plan. 53   -   Level 7 plan. 54   -   Level 8 roof plan. 55   -   Vignette #1: Stanley Park Ecology Society. 56   -   Vignette #2: Front plaza. 57   -   Vignette #3: Ice rink. 58   -   Vignette #4: Atruim. 59   -   Vignette #5: Restaurant. 60   -   Vignette #6: Library entrance. 61   -   Vignette #7: Media lab. 62   -   Vignette #8: Student stair. 63   -   Vignette #9: Student gardens. 64   -   Vignette #10: Student studio. 65   -   Vignette #11: Rooftop yoga. 66   -   Composition. abstract contents list of figures acknowledgement dedication part I - background introduction a brief history of the school place-based learning curriculum the vancouver school system neighbourhoods community on public space and empathy precedents part II - site the west end existing site context part III - proposal concept place-based learning in practice program massing and form systems the building the story afterword endnotes bibliography iii iv v viii ix 01 03 05 13 15 17 19 23 24 26 31 36 41 43 44 50 68 70 72 78 98 123 124 128 contents Thank you to my chair, Mari Fujita, for offering invaluable insight, constant inspiration, and unwavering support during this uncertain term. Thank you to my committee, Cindy Wilson and Tijana Vujosevic, for helping me push, focus, and find the joy in this project. Thank you to the Educational Coordinator of City School, Sandro Fracca, for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience. Thank you to all my teachers along the way, for helping foster my love of learning. Thank you to my friends, for providing a bit of sanity during this time of isolation. Thank you to my parents, for always supporting me in my educational journey. Thank you to Brian, for everything. This thesis was undertaken, and engages a site, on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. acknowledgement viivi ixviii To my former high-school self and those who want to watch the world learn. dedication part I - background Figure 01: The portable problem. Author. 0302 Growing up in Kamloops, I remember my high school always being severely over-capacity. At the time, we had just over 800 students in a school designed for 675. The school didn’t have a cafeteria so students frequently ate lunch sitting on the hallway floors. Four temporary classrooms, called ‘portables’, graced the school grounds to accommodate the student surplus. Students in lower grades often had multiple classes in these uninspired spaces as the temporary-turned-permanent installations slowly degraded from use, weather, and student abuse. For a room comprising four exterior walls, the lighting conditions and ventilation were astonishingly bad. The smell was something of a mix of stale paint and wet carpet and did not inspire a great deal of excitement for class, especially in the winter months. Warmer weather meant the doors could be opened, but also that students in gym class on the nearby field had a prime target for soccer balls. Today, my old school has 14 portables. Work on an addition has finally begun this spring. This thesis was born out of both frustration and hope that our schools can do so much more for us. The school has a profoundly influential role in the development of youth, with its architecture constructing the boundaries within which limits are tested and identity discovered. Schools are traditionally very inward-facing, simulating a microcosm of social relations that offers only a glimpse into the possibilities that lie outside. Student engagement and autonomy is limited by standardization, while pragmatic issues with aging school facilities take precedence over innovation. As designers, we’re too busy trying to solve the school’s existing problems that we’re not looking forward with enough imagination. What will ‘school’ mean in the future, and what do we want it to be? This thesis asks: can the reimagined school help build community and cultivate empathy? Can it become a more open, dynamic, and welcoming place for its neighbours? While not the focus of this thesis, it is impossible to discuss the history of BC’s schools without acknowledging the devastating trauma inflicted on Indigenous peoples by the Indian Residential School system, operated jointly by the Canadian government and leading church organizations for over a century. In BC, where schools ran from the 1870s to 1980s, Indigenous youth were taken from their families and housed in these institutions on the pretense of social re-education, designed to perpetuate the erasure of cultural knowledge, language, spiritual practices, and customs, termed “cultural genocide” by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.1 Though no schools were located directly within Vancouver’s limits - the area of engagement of this thesis - it is important to acknowledge the social and cultural significance of this history, for all of us, as it is something that cannot be separated from our understanding of the power of the school and the land on which this inquiry is undertaken. introduction 0504 Canada’s public school system has developed according to regulations and policy of its provincial governments. From the mid-1800s up to World War II, only limited infrastructure existed to support the beginnings of public education. With the perception of mass education shifting away from one of aristocratic privilege, and the class divide slowly eroding, the necessity of equitable education prompted a new, more unified government approach. In the ‘policy climate’ of the era, the framework for the contemporary model of education was established, with learning viewed as a tool to enhance social cohesion and equity. In the post-war era, governments became increasingly invested in the social fabric of the state2, reflecting the shifting mood of the people for shared resources and bolstered social structures. During this ‘welfare state’ period of government- backed investment in social programs, the role of the school quickly expanded. Public school was now seen as more than a convenience, or ‘nice to have’, but rather, a right of the citizen. The post-war population boom further increased the need for a comprehensive, robust system, and educational policy and curricula were overhauled to create more cohesive, rigorous standards. School buildings were consequently adapted to the new roles, breaking away from the traditional typology to embrace new, modern building technologies and less rigid formal expression. In many ways, 1967 marked the peak of Canadian optimism and prosperity during this era.3 Sweeping cultural shifts, combined with social anxieties and economic uncertainty, saw backlash against the public school’s universalized treatment of student learning. Students became seen beyond the collective ‘student body’ - they became individuals with unique capabilities who required a varied approach to learning. Towards the end of the 1980s, however, economic conditions prompted a deeper investment in the tangible outcomes of public schooling. Producing well-rounded, future workers became a renewed focus, ushering in a greater attention to quality and standardization of education. Today, the educational system has undergone many alterations, but many conventions remain entrenched. Standardization is the norm, while customization to fit different students with different learning styles is seen as unsustainable. Along with today’s culture, our worldview of education has expanded, placing greater emphasis on critical thinking, interconnection, and collaboration. The architecture of the school has likewise adapted to incorporate a more holistic view of the environment, wellness, and cultural context. a brief history of the school Figure 02: School through time. Author. 1935 Overhaul of BC school curricula and programs with emphasis on the three C’s: Citizenship, Character, and Culture. 1954 Provincial Curriculum Advisory Board created. Recommends new subjects to help with ‘complexities’ of modern life. 1967 The BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), with public consultation, emphasizes the  personalization and humanization of education. 1960 Chant Commission recommends core subjects; reduced class sizes for high schools from 30 to 25. 1976 BC Ministry of Education establishes core curriculum to ensure students have requisite skills upon graduation. 1977 BCTF critiques Ministry’s implication that all children are alike and can and should learn the same thing at the same rate. 1987 Sullivan Commission conducted to find most appropriate and effective means of preparing students for life in the 21st century. 1990 Ministry proposes educational reform called ‘The Year 2000’ to develop individual potential and acquire knowledge and skills required to contribute to a more sustainable economy. 2011 BC Education Plan emphasizes flexibility and personalized learning for students. 1989 New focus on fostering individual development and growth. Students taught to be self-reliant, self-disciplined, and an active member of society with a strong sense of environmental responsibility. 2015 Redesigned curriculum reiterates focus on developing the ‘educated citizen’ (first proposed in 1989). 2019 Latest curriculum includes a more global worldview, with less testing and exams. Introduces new core competencies: Communication, Thinking, and Personal and Social Responsibility.4 montessori modernism post-war + contemporary waldorf reggio emilia place-based learning 1907, Italy In a Montessori school, The student has full control over their learning and pursues their education at their own pace. Teachers serve as guides or observers and help students connect with materials and environments that awaken the senses to create a complete and holistic educational experience. development of public education The post-war period saw a shift toward a more trusting view of the institution underpinned by a collective social responsibility. Under the political era of the welfare state, government investment in public programs and infrastructure proliferates. In this prosperous era, education is rationalized, organized, and streamlined, and the school is seen as an important site in which universal cultural ideals may be disseminated and propogated.9 Access to education was limited to the wealthy as parents bore the cost of their child’s schooling. As public education became entrenched in Canada, provinces struggled to find a common model of overseeing education. But admist conflict between English and French-speaking parts of the country and in the pursuit of  a pan-Canadian economy and society, the federal government sought to standardize many components of public education to encourage connections between cities and provinces.8 The quality of public education was being questioned for “destroy[ing] the souls of children” and for “breaking their spirits before turning them out as rebellious misfits or cogs in the great industrial machine.” Education became managed regionally, standardized testing was eliminated, and school curricula and policies underwent a dramatic overhaul to emphasize child-centricity in learning.10 Full provincial funding for education became a contentious topic. Ministers of Education were aware of taxpayer concern over the effectiveness of public education, but the elimination of standardized testing years earlier meant officials had no way of measuring the quality of education. Re-introducing standardized tests and curricula addressed issues related to funding and fiscal accountability, quality of education nationally and internationally, and the need to improve teachers’ skills.11 Technology and globalization have impacted how information and learning occur. But as specific jobs, as well as post-secondary institutions, begin to require specialized skills, students will need to expand their knowledge and abilities to prepare for an increasingly competitive and changing landscape.12 Depression era + rise of modernism [1920s - 40s] The role of the school expands, promoting broader and more comprehensive programs (e.g. kindergarten), subjects, and support for community life. Increased focus on a healthy learning environment through better sanitation, ventilation, and illumination initiates a more considered design of the standard classroom. Desks are arranged in rows and windows enlarged to bring in more light. The footprint of schools greatly expands to meet their increased educational responsibilities, with some schools adding new spaces like cafeterias, clinics, laboratories, and workshops. The field becomes an important component to the school.5 Post-war and beyond [1950s - 80s] Schools break away from traditional H-, U-, or T-shape typologies, allowing for experimentation with formal expression. New building technologies and construction standardization are embraced as efficient solutions to the post-war population boom. The rise of suburbia creates the conditions for the lower, one-storey school typologies, and existing schools are modernized and expanded. Gymnasiums, lunchrooms, and auditoriums are added, and annexes built to accommodate overflow.6 Contemporary [1990s - today] Existing schools are in need of repair, renovation, expansion, and replacement. New forms are tested to address the need for greater functionality, new technologies, and increased density in cities. Classrooms and spatial organization prioritize new attitudes towards collaborative learning by providing breakout and multi-purpose spaces. A greater emphasis on accessiblity, inclusion, sustainability, and occupant wellness are incorporated within design strategies.7 1919, Germany Introduced in 1919 in Germany, the Waldorf approach is play- based, emphasizing creativity to unlock a child’s inner strengths and talents. Teachers guide lessons for each individual and helps students create their own materials for learning and study. 1945, Italy First implemented in post-war Italy, Reggio Emilia pedagogy is typically used with children in primary school or younger. This method of play-based or project-based learning model, helps students learn through discovery and exploration, as well as through spontaneous actions and interactions with nature and with others. 1990s, America One of the first references to place-based learning was in the 1990s by John Elder and his fellow teachers and researchers at the Orion Society. Place-based learning places an emphasis on the process of individual learning and teaching from within the community to connect students with people and places within their local context. 19701940 19601930 1950192019101900 1980 1990 2000 2010 standardization [1982 - 2007] diversification [2007 +]individualization [1967 - 1982]universalization [1945 - 1967]founding + consolidation [1840 - 1945] 2020 pedagogy / learning model development BC curriculum changes political, cultural, and social context architectural implications 0706 Figure 03: Timeline on the evolution of public education in Canada. Author. public school typologies Figure 06: School typology #3: 1990s - today. Based on Royal Bay Secondary in Victoria, built in 2015. Author. Figure 05: School typology #2: 1950s - 80s. Based on Gladstone Secondary in Vancouver, built in 1950. Author. Figure 04: School typology #1: 1920s - 40s. Based on Kitsilano Secondary in Vancouver, built in 1927. Author. 0908 evolution of the classroom 1110 The one-room schoolhouse allows for the dissemination of collective knowledge. Expanded classrooms emphasize teacher authority and standardization. New, less stringent arrangements embody shifting cultural values. Emphasis on collaboration and exchange prompts new configurations. Lessons move outside of the diversified classroom, highlighting the value of interconnection. Figure 07: Evolution of classroom configurations. Author.    world                region        community       school        classroom          self globallocal 1312 beyond the school Place-based learning is an emerging pedagogy in which physical, social, and cultural context is deeply rooted within education. Developed out of environmental educational models, place-based learning considers the ‘local’, and seeks to activate community stewardship through a deeper connection to place. While contemporary school pedagogy and curricula relies on standardization and uniformity to teach specific skills and ensure desired outcomes, place-based learning seeks to disrupt the rigidity of the traditional classroom setting, focusing instead on the process of individual learning and teaching from within the community.13 A place-based pedagogy emphasizes personalized learning by giving students a voice and choice in determining what, how, when, and where they want to learn; lessons and inquiries are tailored to specific needs, strengths, interests, and pace of learning, rather than taught by one ‘gatekeeper’ of knowledge with one standard, universal lesson plan. Place-based learning is highlighted by four core fundamental themes: an attentiveness to local environment, the convergence of science and art, an emphasis on time spent outdoors, and the creation of human connections.14 Student learning is rooted first in a local context, with students encouraged to identify their role within their local community before understanding their sense of place and self on a global scale. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, students will need to be responsible citizens who understand both where they come from and the world they will inhabit; the emphasis on distant places that globalization, careerism, standards-based education, media, and environmental/humanitarian concerns brings can divert focus from meaningful interactions with local people and places.15 Meaningful connections should start small, building students’ depth of understanding and appreciation of place as the foundation of their development into global citizens. Place- based learning offers a more comprehensive worldview rooted in connectivity and interrelationships, tuned to specific social and ecological systems within inhabitants’ local surroundings. Shifting to a place-based pedagogy highlights the importance of the lived experiences of teachers, students, and the community over fixed syllabi and class materials. Lessons are no longer conducted in isolation from the world outside the classroom, but rather, depend on it to bring context, specificity, and situated understanding of the material. Students are required to reflect on and make connections between their environment, themselves, and others. Through place-based learning, students show greater engagement, enthusiasm for learning, and academic success in social studies, sciences, language arts, and math, while improving their problem solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.16 When students create connections with and have a vested interest in the people and places around them, they are far more likely to develop a greater sense of local ecological and cultural sustainability than competitiveness and exploitation.17 Rethinking today’s standard learning model to recognize the importance of connection to people and place is an essential philosophy needed to support the development of a generation of caring, engaged citizens. place-based learning Figure 08: From local to global. Adapted from Teton Science School by author. Language Arts Language Arts Language Arts graduation requirements   [80 credits required] Language Arts Language Arts Social Studies Social Studies Social Studies Physical and Health Education Physical and Health Education Physical and Health Education Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics Fine Arts / Music + Applied Skills Fine Arts / Music + Applied Skills Arts Education / Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies Physical and Health EducationScienceMathematicsSocial StudiesLanguage Arts grade 8 grade 9 grade 10 grade 11 grade 12 12 credits 4 credits4 credits 4 credits8 credits 8 credits8 credits 28 credits Careers Electives Arts Education / Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies Science Science Science Electives (x4) 16 credits Electives (x3) 12 credits Science Careers Careers Career Life Education (CLE) Career Life Connections (CLC) French / Second Language new BC curriculum The BC Ministry of Education, in consultation with educators, is responsible for the development of the secondary school curriculum - an established standard for what students are expected to learn - as well as the principles and framework guiding student assessment. The most recent updates to the BC curriculum began in 2015, establishing a cultural shift towards a more student-centric view and emphasizing the importance of developing a deeper understanding and application of key concepts. In particular, the new curriculum highlights a more personalized approach to learning, ecology and the environment, indigenous perspectives and knowledge, and flexible learning environments. While the curriculum describes what students are expected to learn, it doesn’t prescribe how - leaving the process open to interpretation and customization by the school and teacher. The curriculum’s recognition of the importance of self-assessment, reflection, and ownership of learning is conceptually aligned with more progressive pedagogies, like place-based learning. Within the standardized school system, change happens slowly, held back by myriad constraints outside of desired curricular outcomes. However, with policy starting to shift to a more inclusive, holistic mandate, we might wonder how this will affect the school itself. The BC government states: “Achieving British Columbia’s social and economic goals requires well-educated citizens who are able to think critically and creatively and adapt to change”.18 The student is beginning to be seen as a citizen within the broader educational and socioeconomic system; how might this also impact the school’s role within the broader community? Even with updated outlook and policy, schools are still stuck in the past. The school itself is still designed as a closed environment, drawing from embedded assumptions that underscore the need for control on the pretext of effective learning and student safety. At the bare minimum, the secondary school is viewed as an intermediary meant to help students develop the skills, tools, and critical reasoning they need to prepare them for the ‘real world’ - but with very limited engagement with the social environment outside the school’s boundaries. However, this thesis rejects these psychological and physical barriers. Even in the age of technology, learning relies deeply on social interactions and meaningful experiences. Engaging with others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences, is inherently valuable as youth develop their sense of identity, belonging, and citizenry. curriculum Figure 09: The new BC secondary school curriculum (2015). Author. 1514 Figure 10: Standardization of space. Author. 1716 British Columbia’s Ministry of Education is responsible for overseeing more than 630,000 students enrolled in grades K - 12 every year: 553,000 in public school, 81,000 in independent/ private schools, and 2,200 in home-school. The Ministry receives funding from the provincial government as part of the annual budget, and is responsible for administering three primary areas: Capital Management, which includes capital projects, seismic upgrades, and asset management; Resource Management, which includes funding and budgeting for each school district; and Program Management, which includes the development of a standardized curriculum for all students in the province’s 60 school districts.19  Governed by elected trustees for the Vancouver School District (SD #39), the Vancouver School Board (VSB) oversees over 50,000 students in grades K - 12, comprising 21,000 secondary students at 18 secondary schools and 29,000 elementary students at 101 elementary schools and annexes. The district is further divided into catchment areas, defining boundaries that determine which elementary schools (grades K - 7) feed into their associated secondary school (grades 8 - 12), managing enrollment distribution.20  The upgrade, renovation, or construction of a new school is financed through the Ministry of Education’s Capital Management division. All new projects, additions, and renovations are subject to the Ministry’s Area Standards - a document last updated in 2012 - which sets out guidelines for core and elective programming based on capacity estimates. However, in 2018, the Vancouver School Board expressed concern about the limitations of these outdated standards on the design of new and replacement schools, maintaining that they generally result in significantly smaller buildings with limited spaces for diverse educational programming.21 Main criticisms include insufficient space for visual and performing arts, indoor/outdoor breaks, gymnasiums, and storage.22  Vancouver’s schools are currently facing a unique set of challenges: aging infrastructure, poor seismic conditions, and excess student capacity.23 According to the VSB’s Long Range Plan, published May 2019, the average age of schools in the district is 73 years.24 Only three VSB secondary schools have been remediated in the Seismic Mitigation Program - an initiative launched by the Ministry of Education in 2005 to assess and manage required structural improvements based on updated seismic recommendations.25 Currently 10 of Vancouver’s 18 secondary schools are identified as needing seismic upgrades.26 Additionally, the VSB’s Long Range Plan assesses the conditions of existing facilities, identifying 16 of Vancouver’s 18 secondary schools to have rankings of ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. The facilities’ conditions - affecting the school’s operating costs due to aging, inefficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems - are addressed separately from the higher-priority seismic issues, and the VSB estimates a cost of $751 million to adequately refurbish all elementary and secondary schools in the district.27 the vancouver school system 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Figure 11: Map of Vancouver’s secondary schools and school catchment areas. Data from Vancouver School Board. Author. Vancouver Secondary Schools and 2019-20 Student Population Total Number of Secondary School Students by Catchment Boundary high low University Hill Tupper Price of Wales Gladstone Kitsilano David Thompson Magee Vancouver Technical Lord Byng John Oliver Point Grey Windermere King George Killarney Hamber Britannia Churchill Templeton 1 10 14 12 16 11 15 13 17 18 5 3 7 2 6 4 8 9 867 1285 1471 535 930 924 980 1529 2023 1101 1115 1311 1622 969 967 1562 644 866 secondary school enrollment Constantly fluctuating enrollment in K - 12 schools is a major issue in school planning. School enrollment typically parallels the population growth and decline in the region, which is largely unpredictable. As the number of school-aged youth varies from year to year with factors like immigration, high birth rates, and cost of living affecting population flux, schools must adapt to meet the city’s current needs. With BC’s population projected to increase by an estimated 25% from 2020 to 204128 and Metro Vancouver’s population by 32%29, it is clear that the region’s schools will need to adapt to accommodate additional students in the coming decades.  The school and the neighbourhood exist in a relationship of reciprocity. The dynamics of each affects the other, with constant exchange between people and place - the school as an interchange, a filter, and a mediator. Currently, enrollment in Vancouver’s secondary schools is projected to remain steady at approximately 20,500 students for the next five years, with capacity of schools just under 24,500.30 However, these projections don’t take into account variance between neighbourhoods. The VSB allows for students to enroll in any school outside their designated catchment area, providing space exists. The socioeconomic disparity between Vancouver’s neighbourhoods (typically understood as an east- west divide) as well as limited specialized academic offerings (like French Immersion programs) creates competition that drives enrollment demand. In addition, different growth rates and demographic shifts in neighbourhoods contributes to the student population uncertainty, putting pressure on the system to quickly adjust to meet annual space requirements. The VSB has several strategies for dealing with over- and under-enrollment, most of which are heavily criticized by parents, students, and other community members.31 It is rare to come across an elementary or secondary school without any portables on school grounds – a quasi-architectural ‘quick fix’ with little foresight. These temporary measures have quickly become permanent fixtures, as schools struggle to keep up with changing enrollment demands and limited funding.  neighbourhoods 1918 18 3 4 1 2 23 22 19 20 21 131211 9 10 8 5 6 7 17 16 15 14 Figure 12: Map of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods with projected density for the next 20 years. Data from City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Social Indicators. Author. Figure 13: Map of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods with projected student enrollment for the next 20 years. Analysis based on population growth, immigration, and increase in families with children with data from City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Social Indicators. Author. Population Density Projections by Neighbourhood 18 3 4 1 2 23 22 19 20 21 131211 9 10 8 5 6 7 17 16 15 14 Secondary School Enrollment Projections by Neighbourhood University Endowment Lands Marpole Dunbar- Southlands Renfrew-Collingwood Kitsilano Victoria-Fraserview Shaughnessy Riley Park Grandview-Woodland West Point Grey Sunset Arbutus Ridge Kensington-Cedar Cottage Strathcona Fairview Killarney Kerrisdale South Cambie Hastings-Sunrise Oakridge Mount Pleasant Downtown West End Vancouver Neighbourhoods 10 14 12 16 20 11 15 19 13 17 21 18 22 23 5 3 7 2 6 4 8 9 1 increase decrease increase decrease neighbourhood projections The real problem, however, is the lack of attention on the bigger picture. We’ve inherited a system (with questionable roots) that keeps being patched up and repackaged throughout the decades. Policy- and decision-makers are busy fixing existing issues with today’s schools, have had little discussion on the direction and future of our public education system. This thesis challenges the conventions and assumptions of what we think of as ‘school’, both in purpose and physicality. With the Vancouver School District’s aging buildings and fluctuating student population precipitating a not-so-distant need for newly constructed schools, we need to rethink the way schools relate to their surrounding context - physical, cultural, and social. Vancouver’s secondary schools are located in neighbourhoods across the city with the goal of higher density areas being served by higher capacity (or multiple) schools, creating a distributed network across the city. With the premise that BC’s public education facilities should be, in essence, for the public, this thesis asks: how can the school do more for its community? When is the school more than just a set of classrooms?  Requiring the school to adopt a greater social responsibility embodies the developing attitudes within contemporary education. The school as a purpose-built community hub, designed to activate and support a more resilient neighbourhood culture, positions the school as an integral piece within a broader system. neighbourhoods 2120 6 7 12 58 1 69 2 7 910 3 8 1011 4 september october march augustnovember aprildecember mayjanuary junefebruary july school extracurricular off-hours (community) off-season (community / other) special events Figure 15: The school’s annual patterns of use. Author. Figure 14: The school’s daily patterns of use. Author. For years, schools have frequently been used for functions beyond their intended purpose. While these public buildings are primarily designed to accommodate classroom-based learning and common extracurricular activities (including student groups and sports), the school often plays host to an array of social and community programs as well. These partnerships and uses are already happening in spaces not designed with the forethought to accommodate them. Uses can be classified in terms of their time of use: school day (e.g. daycares, libraries, and student breakfast programs), off-hours (e.g. community bands, art classes, sports leagues, and parent meetings), and off-season (e.g. summer camps, volunteer programs, and summer school). Schools also occasionally host special events on a one-off basis (e.g. conferences, fundraisers, craft fairs, festivals, etc.) that can occur anytime throughout the year during non-school hours. Why not embed the opportunity for these latent uses within the school’s design?  Additionally, some schools have more symbiotic, structured relationships in which dedicated space is allocated for public- serving programs like community libraries, theatres, and daycares. Currently, Vancouver has four secondary schools that are either connected or closely linked to a variety of community amenities, including a neighbourhood learning centre, ice rink, community/service centres, and additional sports courts and playfields. Students typically benefit from these relationships due to more frequent or priority access to these facilities, while the centres become a vital part in the building’s activation. However, clear spatial boundaries still delineate these partnerships, limiting the way both students and the public are afforded authorship over the space. This thesis argues for the need to create public space that is seen as truly shared, not just in proximity, but in our collective social imaginary. the school and patterns of use 2322 community 2524 A fundamental criteria of public space is its publicness - its ability to be accessed, used, and altered by anyone. The notion of collective ownership over shared space is imbued with an element of transparency; the space must support a posture of openness, removing invisible barriers to inclusion. Through the concept of transparency, public life can flourish. Based on Rowe and Slutsky’s writings on transparency, three forms emerge: literal (inherent to the optical quality of the substance or material state), phenomenal (inherent to the quality of organization, including the layering of planes or stratification), and experiential (tied to the idea of accessibility or movement throughout the space).41 Here, transparency is taken to mean “a simultaneous perception of different spatial locations” where “space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity”.42 Through the layering of planes, strategic spatial organization, and intrinsic material quality, an architecture of transparency may manifest. Through transparency, place may communicate its public-facing intent, creating a welcoming environment in which the shared experience is rendered legible. Empathy - the ability to comprehend and share in others’ feelings - is both innate and learned. Relationships are critical to developing this capacity for how we understand, process, and engage with the world. Developmental psychology provides a lens with which we can better understand the relationship between empathy and adolescence in relation to place. The search for purpose - the desire to connect with or contribute beyond the self - “manifests in the relationship between an individual and his or her environment [as an aspiration] to Since the agora of ancient Greece, ‘public space’ has long been understood as a free and open gathering place, tied to the notion of the democratic state. Throughout history, its meaning and significance has changed to reflect the cultural milieu of the time, from its underpinning of nation-building ideology to its reflection and reproduction of contemporary consumption.32 Rather than a fixed, universal entity, public space can be understood as a mutable and subjective social construction: “public space is not just an architectural form or material construction but is part of a dynamic and fluid socio- spatial dialectic which ultimately reflects our tastes, values, and visions”.33 Simply put, people shape, and are shaped by, the spaces they inhabit. Produced by physical, social, and cultural boundaries, public space both reflects and reinforces dominant social customs and beliefs. What we value as a society is communicated through its realization of public space.34 Public space is often defined in the negative, with respect to the private sphere: what is not domestic or privately-owned must therefore be public! However, this dualism represents an oversimplification of our understanding of public space. Spatial boundaries are rarely so precise and universal: “In practice, public and private spaces are a continuum, where many semi- public or semi-private spaces can be identified, as the two realms meet through shades of privacy and publicity rather than clearly cut separation”.35 The idea of the public-private divide as a gradient, with a continuous transition and fuzzy boundaries, more accurately reflects the messiness of reality. Architectural theorist Micheal Brill starts to disentangle this vast ‘in-between’, by further distinguishing public space from have a meaningful existence in the world”.43 Through early adolescence to early adulthood, purpose is likely to develop through four phases: cultivating empathy, envisioning a role within society, reevaluating values and priorities through life transitions, and developing a pathway to enable the envisioned role.44 The more inward-facing search for meaning, or self- identity, is held in tandem with the outward focus on purpose and societal connection, locating oneself within the world. Here, this thesis suggests that through a culture of citizenry, youth can better explore their interests to develop a deeper sense of self-identity and discover a meaningful role within broader society. Growing one’s relationship to place, through community connection, increases opportunities for social exchange, understanding, and empathy. community space. Public life is defined as “sociability with a diversity of strangers”, while community life is “sociability with people you know somewhat”.36 Community, therefore, is the public you come to accept as familiar. The consequence of this differentiation between public and community is a more nuanced understanding of the goals, spatial logic, and value of each. Public life “offers a spectacle of strangeness, a celebration of possibility and an offering of a wide array of possible models for behavior”37, while community life has an element of comfort, of familiarity, of increased safety. While we strive for comfort and social interaction in our increasingly connected yet isolated world, we speak of community. Brill notes that with our enduring fixation on the private realm, we are gradually losing both forms of these social relationships; in particular, “there has been some real loss of Public life, especially that which occurs in the presence of a diversity of strangers, and important graces, tolerances and social learnings are becoming lost to us”.38 Public space plays a critical role in exposing us to new worlds, and new ways of seeing our old world: “Public space allows us to experience other people’s presence and get to know their viewpoint, which is an essential ingredient of living in human societies”.39 Shared space supports shared experience, increasing our awareness, understanding, and empathy for others. Within the public realm, shared social experience helps transform public into community. Shared space is essentially “a school for social learning”, using public life as a “transformative text”.40 on public space & empathy Architect: Cedric Price Year: 1961 Location: London, UK Architect: Renzo Piano + Richard Rogers Year: 1977 Location: Paris, France Though never built, Cedric Price’s Fun Palace sought to expand the notion of public space by creating a radically new educational and cultural centre, thought of as a “laboratory of fun” or  a “university of the streets”.45 Located in an industrial part of London, Fun Palace was envisioned as a temporary urban intervention that embodied adaptability at its core. Price carefully considered the conditions for seemingly unrelated programs to coexist, and even amplify one another, giving more autonomy to its users and probing the imaginary of appropriate social space within our cities. Developed for theatre director Joan Littlewood, the project also embodies a performative aspect, where the rituals and interactions of its occupants play out, their public lives intertwining throughout the project. “Choose what you want to do - or watch someone else doing it. Learn how to handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, or just listen to your favourite tune...Try starting a riot or beginning a painting - or just lie back and stare at the sky.”46 “The Centre Pompidou, when you first catch a glimpse of it, is startling indeed, but it registers as a relief, not as an incongruous interruption.”47 Completed in 1977, this new Parisian art and cultural institution flipped the building inside-out, expressing its systems on the exterior. A prominent example of high-tech architecture, the thoughtfully engineered exoskeletal structure allows for greater programmatic flexibility within the uninterrupted floor plates. As a key part of the design, half of the site has been transformed into a large public plaza, rooting Centre Pompidou within its urban context - both distinct from, and intrinsically tied to, the city. The circulation is articulated on the building’s facade, adding a gesture of movement and transparency that echoes the building’s public-facing posture. Beyond its technical achievements, Centre Pompidou’s success lies in its mediation of flows - people and systems - and its interpretation of adaptability and impermanence into spatial resolution. Figure 16: Fun Palace. Author. Figure 17: Centre Pompidou. Author. 2726 centre pompidoufun palace Figure 18: Seattle Public Library. Author. Figure 19: Ryerson Student Learning Centre. Author. Architect: OMA Year: 2004 Location: Seattle, USA Architect: Snohetta Year: 2015 Location: Toronto, Canada 2928 ryerson student learning centreseattle public library Rem Koolhaas and OMA helped reimagine the potential of the public library as an open, civic space with equitable access to information - a space for people, not just books. Through the separation of related uses into “programmatic clusters”48, the Seattle Public Library embodies a clear language of spatial organization that is further rendered in its architectural expression. Flexibility is achieved through specificity and distinction of program, leaving room for more spontaneous interaction to develop in the spaces in-between. The building’s Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre provides a space for students to gather, study, and collaborate, while also creating a distinct streetfront presence for the university that interlaces the two realms. Tied to the deep-rooted recognition of the social nature of learning, the Centre’s design offers more choice for students through its distinct levels, each with a different function and feel. Levels include the ‘Beach’, ‘Sun’, ‘Sky’, and ‘Garden’49, and draw on their respective thematic characterizations to evoke circulation - most notably, the central ‘book spiral’ - plays a significant role in the design, inviting exploration and movement throughout the public space. To the city, the Library becomes a beacon; the tectonic resolution of form, scale, and materiality projecting its civic posture beyond its physical locale. a phenomenological effect that varies with the surrounding environmental conditions. The design also incorporates ample flexible, multi-purpose space throughout the building, supporting the dynamic lives of its core inhabitants and positioning the building as a welcoming, open space for anyone to enjoy. part II - site other public secondary schools King George Secondary the secondary school in vancouver 3332 This thesis engages a site in Vancouver’s West End - the city’s densest neighbourhood. This site offers a rich backdrop on which to explore the goals of this project, bringing together the school and community centre into a symbiotic partnership. Through design, this thesis aims to leverage the overlap between these traditionally separate entities, creating a more open and activated community space within the city. Figure 20: Site context with existing secondary schools and catchment areas. Author. vancouver’s west end 3534 Figure 21: Neighbourhood site context. Author. rent 80% own 20% West End rent 53% own 47% Vancouver roommatescoupleno kids household with kids live alone West End 0 50 100 150 200 pe rs on s /  h ec ta re West End Vancouver Population Density (2016) 9% 8% 24% 59% 3736 Located between what we now call English Bay, Stanley Park, and Coal Harbour, Vancouver’s West End was once a forested area before European settlers displaced the local Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish First Nations, radically transforming the land. Spurred by the extraction industry, logging practices in the late nineteenth century prompted the development of a nearby settlement of small to large Victorian homes. In 1910, the city added streetcar lines on Robson, Davie, and Denman Streets, defining major arteries and prompting the conversion of some smaller homes into shops, and larger homes into rooming houses. As the city grew, the West End saw the construction of numerous low- rise apartments between the 1930s to 50s, further establishing the residential identity and character of the neighbourhood. Within an era of economic prosperity, social mobility, and changing city regulations, a multi-storey construction boom saw more than 220 mid- and highrises built between 1962 and 197550, adding to the texture of the neighbourhood. Today, the majority of the West End’s mid- and highrises are still-standing remnants of the construction that took place in the 60s and 70s. As a result, the West End possesses nearly one third of all of Vancouver’s purpose-built rental housing; 80% of West End households are rented, compared to 53% of households across the rest of the city, making the West End the neighbourhood with the second highest proportion of renters in the city.51 Due to the availability of rental housing, over 47,000 people live in the two square kilometre area, making the West End Vancouver’s densest neighbourhood with 231 persons per hectare.52 With many seniors, immigrants, single adults, young couples, and a large portion of Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ community calling the neighbourhood home, the West End is one of the most diverse and vibrant communities in the city. Over the last four years, the West End has seen a higher rate of immigrants moving to the area than most of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, with just over 30% of the population identifying as members of a visible minority group. Consistent with trends across the city, seniors are expected to make up a greater share of future populations. Currently, 15% of West End residents are over the age of 65, with many living alone. But while there are three times as many seniors as there are children, the West End contains the fourth highest density of children of any community in the city.53 With much of the population made up of seniors, new Canadians, and young adults, it’s not unsurprising that the West End has one of the lowest average median household incomes and one of the highest rates of people living below the national poverty line. Residential rental buildings built in the 1960s and 70s typically don’t include building amenities, making nearby community spaces and services a critical lifeline for new Canadians and seniors living alone. The West End is in need of increased space to serve the neighbourhood’s diverse populace, and promote activity, connection, and civic engagement within the community. the west end Figure 23: West End demographic statistics. Data from the West End Community Plan. Author. Figure 22: West End rent-own comparison with other neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Data from the West End Social Indicators Profile. Author. The West End Community Centre and King George Secondary School are located on a 4.4 acre shared-use site managed by the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Board of Education under reciprocal leases. The site is bounded by Haro Street, Denman Street, Barclay Street, and the furthest edge of the fenced King George soccer field. Haro Street Ted Northe Lane Nelson Street Rosemary Brown Lane Robson Street Barclay Street Stovold Lane D en m an  St re et Ca rd er o St re et Bi dw ell  St re et G ilf or d St re et King George Secondary West End Community Centre Figure 24: Existing site plan. Author. 3938 4140 Jointly operated by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and the West End Community Centre Association, the 60,000 square feet Community Centre contains a childcare centre, fitness centre, auditorium, bookable meeting rooms, ice rink, and outdoor tennis courts, as well as the Joe Fortes Library, one of 21 branches of the Vancouver Public Library. At 72,000 square feet, King George Secondary is a 375-student capacity school, yet enrollment as of 2020 is over 500 students. King George is also home to one of the Vancouver School District’s ‘choice’ programs, called City School, founded in 1971.54 This 22-seat alternative for grades 10-12 students embraces the motto of ‘learning from the city’ as students take part in donor-funded trips and activities throughout Vancouver.55 In conversation with City School’s Educational Coordinator and Head Teacher, the program proposes a valuable alternative mindset to the traditional secondary school experience, shifting the focus away from the culturally- expected university route to help students define their own “pathways to success”. Students become more than just cogs in the educational system, they become people. City School embodies ideas rooted within place-based learning, with facilitators supporting student development with individualized and responsive lessons, opportunities for learning within the city, and a proven basis for an educational model on which this thesis hopes to expand and spatialize. The Community Centre’s amenities and King George’s capacity have become outpaced by the West End’s growth. The fitness centre is underused due to its poor condition, the childcare centre is over capacity, and the 5,000-square-foot library is undersized. Over the next ten years, King George’s catchment area, which includes Crosstown, Elsie Roy, and Robert Elementary Schools, as well as an incoming elementary school in Coal Harbour, will see an increase in enrollment, exceeding operating capacity.56 Existing facilities and infrastructure will require extensive upgrades to deal with growing demand for age-friendly spaces and services for an increasingly dense, growing, and aging population. In order to accommodate the growth of the West End, and the need to upgrade existing facilities and amenities, the City of Vancouver released a request for proposal (RFP) at the end of 2019 for the development of a master plan for the site. The scope of the RFP calls for upgraded amenities within the Community Centre, including more childcare space, a fire hall, seniors’ services, and a larger ice rink (NHL-sized). Additionally, it includes an increase in capacity at King George Secondary from 375 students to 1000, and an increase in size of the Joe Fortes Library from 5,000 square feet to approximately 20,000 square feet.57 The RFP is expected to conclude with presentations to the City in June 2021. Clearly, this neighbourhood has outpaced its investment in social infrastructure. This thesis takes these very real conditions as a starting point to envision what a more robust and integrated community infrastructure might look like. Can public space activate and animate the West End and support its unique, local culture? Can a community-school hybrid create more resilient social networks within the city? existing site context Figure 25: Existing site axonometric. Author. part III - proposal 4544 What if learning could move beyond the classroom? School architecture has traditionally reinforced a didactic, teacher-knows-all learning model, limiting student engagement, creativity, and autonomy. With the emergence of more progressive pedagogies, the contemporary academic focus is slowly shifting from product to process, offering opportunities for collaboration and customization within the secondary school curriculum. The model of place-based learning embraces connection between students, their environment, and the surrounding community, recognizing that learning is both context-dependent and an inherently social activity. Within this framework, this thesis explores the interface between a secondary school and community centre in Vancouver’s West End, questioning the fundamental role of the public secondary school to reimagine it as an essential piece of community infrastructure within its neighbourhood. This centre is positioned as a truly public facility, eschewing the school’s traditional hermetic boundaries in favour of a porosity aimed at cultivating human connection. Figure 26: Concept vignette. Author. 4746 Figure 27: Parti. Author. At public-school, the public is welcomed in, and the students venture out, while maintaining a balance between student security and independence. Engaging with others, especially those with different backgrounds, life experiences, and expertise, is inherently valuable as youth develop their own sense of identity, belonging, and citizenry. 4948 Figure 28: Separated planes. Author. The massing is conceived of as a series of planes that rotate around a central open core to create a generous amount of open exterior space for the public while enhancing the porosity and permeability of the building. The public navigates the building by following the roof planes up and around until they can go no further. The top two levels are restricted to the school use and provide a secure place for students. Community Involvement PLACE PARTNER a dedicated Community Partner (individual, group, organization, society, etc.) that works to introduce students to ‘real world’ experiences, and helps foster curiosity and guide inquiry into the field/subject a site (indoor or outdoor) located within the city that can be used as a ‘classroom’ for context-specific experiential learning Learning Lead CP T S Community Partner Teacher Student in-city mentorship with community partner regular lecture / in-class work, labsclass on locationwithin community individual / flex work time group project / group work outdoor class (on- or off-site) in-class learning with community partner guest in-school PLACE PLACE PARTNER CP CP CP T ST T TTS S S PLACEPARTNER +PLACEPARTNER + place-based learning in practice 5150 Aligned with the intent of BC’s recent high school curriculum update, this thesis pushes beyond to envision a school in which place-based learning is the dominant mode of education. The school develops relationships with partners within the community (businesses, individuals, institutions, etc.), and lessons move from the traditional classroom setting out into the city, with the school serving as a home base for students. Figure 29: Place-based methodology. Author. Science Social Studies Arts Language Arts [English] Physical and Health Education Applied Skills Careers Mathematics Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 in-city in-school place-based learning by subject and grade 5352 As students move up in grade level, they are able to customize their electives and schedules to spend more time within the community. The goal of this school is not to develop the perfect university applicant, but rather, to support students as they find their own path forward, developing a sense of ownership and responsibility through these choices. Students spend between a quarter to half of their time outside of the school, attending classes in-city with community partners, meeting up with mentors, or working or volunteering within local institutions or businesses. Figure 30: Place-based learning by subject and grade. Author. 5554 science Figure 31: Science. Author. 5756 social studies Figure 32: Social Studies. Author. 5958 physical and health education Figure 33: Physical and Health Education. Author. 6160 applied skills Figure 34: Applied Skills. Author. 6362 arts Figure 35: Applied Skills. Author. 6564 english Figure 36: English. Author. 6766 school network Figure 37: School network. Author. flex roomsarts studio ceramics studio kitchenlounge clubs mediastudy spaceseating / open flex space tennis / basketball childcaremusic / theatre greenhousecourtyardcafe gym fitness maker lab adminplaza sports fieldice rink school-specific program - always private pr iv at e pu bli c1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] fixed program - shared / bookable fixed program - always public multi-purpose - bookable outdoor - always private outdoor - always public restaurant / foodsseating flex rooms librarycovered plaza media seniors school admin teacher prep special ed school gardensscience lab 6968 program Figure 38: Program. Author. Public-school’s programming creates a public-private gradient, placing the student, and school- specific programming, on top, both physically and symbolically. The school has priority in booking shared spaces throughout the day, while the evenings, weekends, and summers see a different balance of student-community activation. Each level is conceived of as housing a different theme, and is connected through a series of open, outdoor public spaces. 7170 Figure 39: Massing and form. Author. massing and form 7372 Figure 40: Elevator core. Author. Figure 41: Exit stair. Author. The central elevator core provides an accessible and direct way to move to all public levels, with students and school staff having their own elevator that reaches the top floors. Exit stair cores are placed at key points and act as part of the building’s structure. 7574 Figure 42: Public circulation. Author. Circulation plays a critical role in the design, with the main public route comprising a series of generous exterior stairs that pull the visitor up through the public levels, acting as an extension of the sidewalk and plaza below. As a counterpoint to the public route, students move through the building using the student stair, again, with controlled access via key card. The stair creates a web of movement, allowing students to develop a legibility about the building. Figure 43: Student stair. Author. 7776 To create a more open public school, the idea of transparency plays a central role in the design’s development. The building is conceived of as a series of planes, making the public space an extension of the ground plane to encourage movement up throughout the building. Transparency is reinforced through a public-private gradient, from the ground plane to the secured upper student home base and school administration level, as well as organization and materiality. Different circulation routes for the public and students embed the ideas of movement and overlap between the spaces, with flexibility for learning and community activities to occur in a variety of both indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the building. The building’s double-layered façade, comprised of clear polycarbonate paneling over curtain wall, plays with this notion of transparency and filtering, while creating a unique quality of light within the spaces. Figure 44: Transparency. Author. 7978 Figure 45:  Building axonometric. Author. The school conveys a generous posture towards its neighbours, and is set back to create a large public plaza along Denman Street and sweep people up to the second level through the front stair. The ground level sports field can be booked by the school and community teams alike, and creates a pocket of open green space within the dense neighbourhood. 8180 Figure 46:  Building section. Author. At public-school, forging ties to the community is seen as a crucial part of learning. In addition to their core and elective subjects, students participate in a flexible pass/fail ‘Community Connections’ course each year, where they develop their own projects centred around volunteering, to encourage community resilience within the West End. Students move around to different parts of the building during the day, are often coming and going to different in-city classes or placements depending on their schedule. Figure 47:  Level 1 plan. Author. The ground level invites the public in through three main entry points, and houses the gym, fitness centre, ice rink, squash courts, and maker lab, as well as the building’s admin. 2 22 3 4 1 5 6 7 8 9 9 10 1112 14 13 1517 18 23 25 25 26 28 29 24 25 25 26 27 30 19 20 21 16 1 plaza 18 waste/recycling 16 loading 3 seating area 20 maker lab/workshop storage5 lockers 22 washrooms 9 athletic flex room 26 storage 14 athletic office 7 athletic reception 24 electrical 11 fitness centre (mezzanine) 28 janitor 2 building reception 19 building admin 17 maker lab/workshop 4 NHL-sized ice rink 21 building storage6 squash courts 23 mechanical 10 storage 27 zamboni/storage 15 display 8 soccer field 25 changeroom 13 first aid 30 equipment/skate rental 12 gymnasium 29 laundry 8382 8584 Figure 48:  Level two plan. Author. The courtyard on the second level hosts a variety of community events, and is a great place for people to meet up and grab a coffee at the café, where students often work part-time. With spillover from the theatre, childcare centre, and greenhouses, there’s always some sort of activity going on. 31 32 35 33 34 42 39 41 38 37 36 40 43 44 31 outdoor stage 33 cafe 35 theatre 39 childcare centre 44 greenhouse 37 theatre storage 41 outdoor playspace 32 washrooms 34 theatre flex room 36 music storage 40 childcare washrooms 38 audio-visual 43 courtyard 42 childcare storage 8786 Figure 49:  Level 3 plan. Author. A floor up, the restaurant houses a rotating test-kitchen, where different emerging local chefs book out the space to try out restaurant concepts when it’s not being used for student foods classes. Chefs partner with the school to provide a hands-on learning experience for students interested in the culinary arts. Multipurpose rooms can be booked for classes or community events, and the whole floor can be rented out for larger events to generate revenue for the school. 45 48 47 46 49 50 53 51 52 55 54 54 54 54 54 54 54 45 outdoor seating 47 reception 49 kitchen 53 dining area 51 outdoor patio 55 lounge/study space 46 storage 48 washrooms 50 kitchen mech. 54 bookable flex rooms 52 learning/cooking station 8988 Figure 50:  Level 4 plan. Author. Up a level, the library functions as a partnership between the Vancouver Public Library and the school. Students come here to study, find resources for projects, or do some reading in between classes. A seniors’ services centre and media lab are placed close to one another to encourage cross-disciplinary engagement. 56 57 59 60 6158 62 63 65 64 66 66 56 student flex space 58 library front desk 60 library 64 recording studio 62 resource centre 57 rooftop plaza 59 washrooms 61 librarian and staff room 65 media centre 66 bookable media rooms 63 seniors’ services 9190 Figure 51:  Level 5 plan. Author. Above the library, the fifth floor is bursting with creativity, and houses a ceramics studio, art studio, photography lab and dark room, and a textiles room, complete with sewing machines for evening drop-in use. 67 68 69 69 70 70 69 69 69 78 77 77 76 75 75 71 72 74 73 67 mezzanine 69 bookable arts flex space 71 arts studio 75 photography/dark room 73 kiln room 68 washrooms 70 display 72 arts storage 76 digital media 77 storage 78 sewing/textiles 74 ceramics studio 9392 Figure 52:  Level 6 plan. Author. The sixth floor is secured for students, teachers, and administration, and houses necessary school-specific functions including a science lab, although the majority of science classes are taught outdoors or off-site with community partners. 101 96 97 79 80 100 99 8182828282 83 95 94 90 91 98 898988 929393 8786 85 84 93 administrators 91 copy room 95 reception 97 teachers’ lounge 99 bookable room 94 kitchen 92 storage 96 study/work space 98 teachers’ washrooms 100 teachers’ office 101 rooftop garden 79 science lab 81 science storage 83 washrooms 87 bookable rooms 85 support staff 80 display 82 teachers’ offices 84 mech/jan 88 group counselling 89 one-to-one counselling 90 health/first-aid 86 special education 9594 Figure 53:  Level 7 plan. Author. The top floor houses the Student Studio – a ‘home base’ for students to study, store their belongings, print out projects, and make fresh lunches. A studio monitor keeps an eye on things and helps the students with anything they need throughout the day. 112108 107 105105105105 103104 102 106 109 110 111 103 studio monitor/office 105 student club rooms 109 washrooms 107 student media centre 102 storage 104 lockers 106 outdoor patio 110 kitchen 111 lounge/workspace 112 roof 108 projector 9796 Figure 54:  Level 8 roof plan. Author. Above the Studio, students can unwind and play a pick-up game of basketball or tennis. 116 115 114 113 113 covered lecture space 115 tennis court 114 basketball court 116 rooftop seating 9998 Students often spend at least a quarter of their time away from the school, with lessons taking place on location with community partners. Here, Mae and her science group are testing water samples at the Stanley Park Ecology Society - a 20-minute walk away from the school. After this morning’s lesson, they’ll grab a snack from a nearby bakery on their walk back for afternoon math class. If the weather holds up, their math teacher has planned on holding the lecture outdoors on one of the school’s open rooftop plazas. Figure 55:  Vignette #1 - Stanley Park Ecology Society. Author. Every Saturday morning, the front plaza hosts a community farmers’ and craft market. Alice is here looking to buy some apples, and meets a local farmer who works with students to cultivate a variety of vegetables in the greenhouse, which are used in the restaurant by local chefs. Alice makes a mental note to herself to go check it out sometime. 101100 Figure 56:  Vignette #2 - Front plaza. Author. Today, Mae is putting posters up for the school’s annual Open House later this week, which encourages new people to come explore the building’s amenities and programs. She decides to start at the ice rink because it’s a high traffic area for both students and the public, especially when it gets booked out for team hockey. She quickly says hi to her friends, Sam and Elia, who are using their extended break to practice skating during the open public drop-in hours. 103102 Figure 57:  Vignette #3 - Ice rink. Author. On the second level, a community guitar group meets up every week after work. Students interested in learning guitar often drop by to get some pointers. Raj has just picked his daughter up from the childcare centre, and watches in delight as she starts dancing to the music with a few other children. 105104 Figure 58:  Vignette #4 - Atruim. Author. Alice has decided to try out the restaurant today, as the local chef is serving lasagna – one of her favourite dishes. She meets up with a local mentor who she met during the school’s drop-in sewing class. 107106 Figure 59:  Vignette #5 - Restaurant. Author. As part of her leadership club, Mae also helps coordinate events for the school, including the school’s annual Open House. She and her team arrive at the library entrance, which is always filled with people enjoying the view from the covered rooftop. 109108 Figure 60:  Vignette #6 - Library entrance. Author. Mae also volunteers as part of her Community Connections class to help seniors increase their digital literacy skills, and has partnership with the seniors’ services centre to identify the need. Here, she’s met up with Alice to help demonstrate how to download and print pictures of her grandchildren from her iPad. 111110 Figure 61:  Vignette #7 - Media lab. Author. Students have their own routes that weave their way throughout the building, instilling a sense of security and ownership over the space. Here, students are meandering up to their ceramics class from the library after taking advantage of the school’s drop-in tutoring sessions – their English teacher was super helpful and always has great reading suggestions. 113112 Figure 62:  Vignette #8 - Student stair. Author. Across the sixth-level walkway, the school’s rooftop gardens are used for a variety of lessons (including physical and health education, foods, and life sciences), student gathering space, or just a nice place to unwind. Here, Mae is taking a moment to do some reading for her English class. She enjoys having the option to retreat up into the building, and the garden is her favourite spot to study. She also loves grabbing fresh parsley for lunch when it’s in season. 115114 Figure 63:  Vignette #9 - Student gardens. Author. While students are able to access and use any of public-school’s floors, this studio is solely for them. Because they spend so much time out in the city and have more flexible project-based classes, this is a great space to run into a friend from a different grade or meet up to work on a project. It also reinforces the idea that learning doesn’t need to happen solely in the rigid classroom – students are given more autonomy and choice to craft their own schedules and adapt their workflow to a learning style that suits their needs. 117116 Figure 64:  Vignette #10 - Student studio. Author. The student wellness club organizes Wednesday morning yoga, which is a great way to start the day looking out over the city. After morning exercise, it’s a perfect time to grab a tea or coffee on the second-level cafe. Students often plan meet-ups with their career mentors there. In the summer, when school’s out, the rooftop spaces are able to be booked by the public for different games or events, with access through the elevators. 119118 Figure 65:  Vignette #11 - Rooftop yoga. Author. 121120 Figure 66:  Composition. Author. afterword 123122 This thesis began by questioning the role of the public school as an institution and ultimately wove its way to the project’s core: spatializing human connection through design. Here, empathy and learning are one-in-the-same, brought together through a new characterization of the school. This project highlights the need for greater consideration of the power and potentials of our public institutions. The review prompted a great discussion about the project’s position on the need increased residential density within the West End, which was deeply considered at the start of the term, but ultimately, I chose to focus in greater depth on the interplay between the core programs - the school and the community centre. Moving forward,  the posture toward public space developed in this project would be interesting to apply in a higher density urban context, incorporating housing and commercial uses with education. What does the school as an integrated community village look like? How does (or should) the public nature of the project shift to incorporate self-sustaining financial viability within our current economic framework? Can truly public space exist? 125124 endnotes 1 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015. http://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Final%20Reports/Executive_ Summary_English_Web.pdf, 3. 2 Jennifer Wallner, “Learning to School: Federalism and Public Schooling in Canada,” (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 151. 3 Wallner, 180. 4 Andree Gacoin, “BC’s New Curriculum”, BCTF, 2019, https://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/HistoryMuseum/Collections/ HistoryArticles/CurriculumTimeline.pdf 5 Robert Kronenburg, “Flexible Architecture: The Cultural Impact of Responsive Building,” (presentation, 10th International Conference on Open Building, Paris, France, 2004), 1. 6 William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle (New York: North Point Press, 2002), 139. 7 James A. Pinder et al. “What is Meant by Adaptability in Buildings?” Facilities, vol. 35 (2017): 2-20, DOI: 10.1108/F-07-2015-0053, 3. 8 Jennifer Wallner, “Learning to School: Federalism and Public Schooling in Canada,” (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 120-135. 9 Wallner, 153-169. 10 Wallner, 181-188. 11 Wallner, 211-223. 12 Wallner, 238-243. 13 David Gruenewald, “Foundations of place: a multidisciplinary framework for place-conscious education”, American Educational Research Journal, vol. 40, no. 3 (2003), 620. 14 John Elder, “Stories in the Land: A Place-Based Environmental Education Anthology”, The Orion Society, (2014), 14, https:// orionmagazine.org/cms/assets/uploads/2015/09/SIL-complete.pdf. 15 Steven Semken and Carol Freeman, “Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching”, Science Education, vol. 92, no. 6 (2008), 1043. 16 David Sobel, “Place-based education: connecting classrooms and communities”, North American Montessori Teachers’ Association Journal, vol. 39, no. 1 (2014), 62. 17 Semken and Freeman, 1044. 18 Government of British Columbia. “Introduction to British Columbia’s Redesigned Curriculum.” August 2015, https://24.files. edl.io/L9ruyqmdMokYjQhTqXr3ijdnSLAPr4NQpF5P0OcsWtfHXiA6.pdf. 19 Government of British Columbia, “Education & Training: Kindergarten to Grade 12,” https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/ education-training/k-12/administration. 20 Vancouver School Board, “Our District,” last modified November 21, 2019, https://www.vsb.bc.ca/District/Pages/default.aspx. 21 Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Education, Area Standards, May 2012, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/ education/administration/resource-management/capital-planning/areastandards.pdf. 22 Government of British Columbia, Area Standards. 23 Vancouver School Board, Long Range Facilities Plan, May 29, 2019, https://www.vsb.bc.ca/District/Planning_and_Facilities/ Long_Range_Facilities_Plan/Documents/sbfile/191121/LRFP-May29-2019-draft.pdf, 28. 24 Vancouver School Board, Long Range Facilities Plan, 19. 25 Vancouver School Board, Long Range Facilities Plan, 19. 26 Government of British Columbia, Seismic Mitigation Program: Progress Report, last modified April 2020, https://www2.gov. bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/resource-management/capital-planning/seismic-mitigation/smp_online_report.pdf, 27 Vancouver School Board, Long Range Facilities Plan, 19. 28 Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology, BC Stats. British Columbia Population Projection 19/07 Summary Statistics, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/data/statistics/people-population-community/ population/1971_2018_estimates_2019_2041_projections.pdf. 29 Metro Vancouver, Metro Vancouver Growth Projections — A Backgrounder, last modified December 2018, http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/ OverviewofMetroVancouversMethodsinProjectingRegionalGrowth.pdf. 30 Vancouver School Board, Long Range Facilities Plan, 19. 31 Tanya Fletcher, “Plans for New Catchment Boundaries Around Vancouver Schools on Hold After Parents Object,” CBC News, last modified June 7, 2018, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-school-district-catchment- 127126 endnotes boundaries-1.4697218. 32 Miles Orvell and Jeffrey Meikle, Public Space and the Ideology of Place in American Culture, (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V., 2009), 16. 33 Rickie Sanders, “The Public Space of Urban Communities,” in Public Space and the Ideology of Place in American Culture, eds. Miles Orvell and Jeffrey Meikle, (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V., 2009), 278. 34 Sanders, 268. 35 Ali Madanipour, Private and Public Spaces of the City, (London: Routledge, 2003), 210. 36 Michael Brill, “Problems with mistaking community life for public life”, Places, vol. 14, no. 2 (2001), 48. 37 Brill, 54. 38 Brill, 49. 39 Madanipour, 145. 40 Brill, 54. 41 Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, “Transparency: literal and phenomenal,” in Perspecta, vol. 8 (1963), 44. 42 Rowe and Slutzky, 45. 43 Heather Malin et al, “Adolescent Purpose Development: Exploring Empathy, Discovering Roles, Shifting Priorities, and Creating Pathways,” in Journal of Research on Adolescence, vol. 24, no. 1 (2013), 186. 44 Malin et al, 196. 45 Museum of Modern Art, “Cedric Price: Fun Palace for Joan Littlewood Project, Stratford East, London, England,” MOMA, Accessed December 20, 2020. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/842. 46 Canadian Centre for Architecture, “1964: Fun Palace,” CCA, Accessed December 20, 2020. https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/ issues/2/what-the-future-looked-like/32737/1964-fun-palace. 47 Reyner Banham and John Partridge, “Pompidou cannot be perceived as anything but a monument,” Architectural Review, May 11 1977, Republished March 2013, Accessed December 20, 2020. https://www.architectural-review.com/buildings/pompidou- cannot-be-perceived-as-anything-but-a-monument. 48 OMA, “Seattle Public Library, “ OMA, Accessed December 20, 2020. https://oma.eu/projects/seattle-central-library. 49 Snohetta, “Ryerson University Student Learning Centre,” Snohetta, Accessed December 20, 2020. https://snohetta.com/ project/250-ryerson-university-student-learning-centre. 50 City of Vancouver, West End Community Plan, 2013, https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/west-end-community-plan.pdf, 10. 51 City of Vancouver, West End Neighbourhood Social Indicators Profile 2020, last modified October 5 2020, https://vancouver. ca/files/cov/social-indicators-profile-west-end.pdf, 17. 52 City of Vancouver, Social Indicators, 10. 53 City of Vancouver, West End Community Plan, 10. 54 City School Vancouver, “Philosophy,” Accessed December 12, 2020. https://www.cityschoolvancouver.com/philosophy. 55 City School Vancouver, “Admissions,” Accessed December 12, 2020. https://www.cityschoolvancouver.com/admissions. 56 Vancouver School Board, Long Range Facilities Plan, 50. 57 City of Vancouver, “West End Community Centre and King George Secondary School Master Plan,” November 15, 2019. https://bids.vancouver.ca/bidopp/RFP/documents/PS20191141-RFP-WestEndCCMasterPlan-Final.pdf. 129128 bibliography Banham, R. and Partridge, J. (2013). Pompidou cannot be perceived as anything but a monument. Architectural Review.  https://www.architectural-review.com/buildings/pompidou-cannot-be-perceived-as-anything-but-a-monument. Brill, M. (2001). Problems with mistaking community life for public life. Places, 14(2), 48-55. Canadian Centre for Architecture. (n.d.). 1964: Fun Palace. CCA. https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/issues/2/what-the-future-  looked-like/32737/1964-fun-palace. City of Vancouver. (2019). West End Community Centre and King George Secondary School Master Plan. City of Vancouver.  https://bids.vancouver.ca/bidopp/RFP/documents/PS20191141-RFP-WestEndCCMasterPlan-Final.pdf. City of Vancouver. (2013) West End Community Plan. The West End. https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/west-end-community-  plan.pdf. City of Vancouver. (2020). West End Neighbourhood Social Indicators Profile 2020. City of Vancouver. https://vancouver.ca/files/  cov/social-indicators-profile-west-end.pdf. City School Vancouver. (n.d.). Philosophy. City School Vancouver. https://www.cityschoolvancouver.com/philosophy. City School Vancouver. (n.d.). Admissions. City School Vancouver. https://www.cityschoolvancouver.com/admissions. Elder, J. (1998). Stories in the Land: A Place-Based Environmental Education Anthology. The Orion Society. https://  orionmagazine.org/cms/assets/uploads/2015/09/SIL-complete.pdf. Fletcher, T. (2018). Plans for New Catchment Boundaries Around Vancouver Schools on Hold After Parents Object. CBC News.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-school-district-catchment-boundaries-1.4697218. Gacoin, A. (2019). BC’s New Curriculum. BCTF. https://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/HistoryMuseum/Collections/HistoryArticles/  CurriculumTimeline.pdf Government of British Columbia. (n.d.). Education & Training: Kindergarten to Grade 12. Government of British Columbia.  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration. Government of British Columbia. (2015). Introduction to British Columbia’s Redesigned Curriculum. Ministry of Education.  https://24.files.edl.io/L9ruyqmdMokYjQhTqXr3ijdnSLAPr4NQpF5P0OcsWtfHXiA6.pdf. Government of British Columbia. (2019). Education & Training: Kindergarten to Grade 12. Ministry of Education. https://www2.  gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration. Government of British Columbia. (2012). Area Standards. Ministry of Education. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/  assets/gov/education/administration/resource-management/capital-planning/areastandards.pdf. Government of British Columbia. (n.d.). British Columbia Population Projection 19/07 Summary Statistics. Ministry of  Jobs, Trade, and Technology, BC Stats. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/data/statistics/people-population-community/  population/1971_2018_estimates_2019_2041_projections.pdf. Government of British Columbia. (2020). Seismic Mitigation Program: Progress Report. Government of British Columbia.  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/resource-management/capital-planning/seismic-  mitigation/smp_online_report.pdf. Gruenewald, D. (2003). Foundations of place: a multidisciplinary framework for place-conscious education. American  Educational Research Journal, 40(3), 619-654. DOI: 10.3102/00028312040003619. Gruenewald, D. (2003). The best of both worlds: a critical pedagogy of place. Educational Researcher, 32,(4), 3-12.  https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X032004003. Kronenburg, Robert. (2004). “Flexible Architecture: The Cultural Impact of Responsive Building.” Paper presented at the 10th  International Conference on Open Building, Paris, France. 132130 bibliography Kuhn, Christian. (2012). Typology: Schools. Architectural Review. https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/typology/  typology-schools/8625738.article. Madanipour, A. (2003). Private and Public Spaces of the City. Routledge. Malin, H. et al. (2013). Adolescent Purpose Development: Exploring Empathy, Discovering Roles, Shifting Priorities, and Creating  Pathways. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(1), 186-199. McDonough, W. and Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle. North Point Press. Metro Vancouver. (2018). Metro Vancouver Growth Projections — A Backgrounder. Metro Vancouver.  http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/  OverviewofMetroVancouversMethodsinProjectingRegionalGrowth.pdf. Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). Fun Palace for Joan Littlewood Project, Stratford East, London, England (Perspective). MOMA.  https://www.moma.org/collection/works/842. OMA. (n.d.). Seattle Public Library. OMA. https://oma.eu/projects/seattle-central-library. Orvell, M and Meikle, J. (2009). Public Space and the Ideology of Place in American Culture. Editions Rodopi B.V.. Pinder, J. et al. (2017). What is Meant by Adaptability in Buildings? Facilities, 35: 2-20. DOI: 10.1108/F-07-2015-0053. Rowe, C. and Slutzky, R. (1963). Transparency: literal and phenomenal. Perspecta, vol. 8, 45-54. Sanders, R. (2009). The Public Space of Urban Communities in Public Space and the Ideology of Place in American Culture, in  “Public Space and the Ideology of Place in American Culture,” eds. Orvell, M and Meikle, J. Editions Rodopi B.V.. Semken, S. and Freeman, C. (2008). Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching. Science  Education, 92,(6),1042-1057. https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1002/sce.20279. Snohetta. (n.d.). Ryerson University Student Learning Centre. Snohetta. https://snohetta.com/project/250-ryerson-university-  student-learning-centre. Sobel, D. (2014). Place-based education: connecting classrooms and communities. North American Montessori Teachers’  Association Journal, 39(1), 61-78. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final  Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.  http://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Final%20Reports/Executive_Summary_English_Web.pdf. Vancouver School Board. (2019). Long Range Facilities Plan. Vancouver School Board Planning and Facilities.  https://www.vsb.bc.ca/District/Planning_and_Facilities/Long_Range_Facilities_Plan/Documents/sbfile/191121/LRFP-  May29-2019-draft.pdf Vancouver School Board. (2019). Our District. Vancouver School Board. https://www.vsb.bc.ca/District/Pages/default.aspx. Wallner, J. (2014). Learning to School: Federalism and Public Schooling in Canada. University of Toronto Press. Weisser, A. (2006). Little Red School House. ‘What Now?’ Two Centuries of American Public School Architecture. Journal of  Planning History, 5(3), 196-217. DOI: 10.1177/1538513206289223.


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