quesnel junior school
architecture for the future
design through stakeholder collaboration
The story of Quesnel Junior School begins with the Quesnel River and it’s confluence with the Fraser. Flowing from the parking lot, through the school and beyond to the outdoor learning areas is a geographically accurate, smaller scale imitation of the joining rivers, cast into the concrete. The connection between the rivers highlights the seamlessness between indoor and outdoor spaces, and invites staff and students to explore every aspect of the school.
Following the winding river path inside, the monolithic learning stairs cascade into the heart of the school, creating a two-storey focal point from which the learning studio wings unfold. Doubling as auditorium seating for the adjacent drama stage and multi-purpose area below, the learning stairs maximize the efficiency of circulation within the building.
Equipped with a fully functioning woodshop, stagecraft studio, drama theatre, home economics and music room, Quesnel Junior School ensures that future generations will have access to electives that inspire creativity and nurture individuality. Alongside the electives, learning studios and science laboratories also have 21st century design elements that allow flexible seating arrangements, and a “guide from beside” style of instruction. Overhead garage doors and operable walls between learning studios open the space to enhance flow and maximize cross-curricular connections.
Built into Quesnel Junior is a neighborhood learning centre, providing a safe and secure environment with quality caregivers, giving parents peace of mind knowing their children are safe while they work.
Architecturally, the presence of wood throughout the interior and exterior of the school creates an inviting warmth, wrapped under standing seam roofing that protects against Quesnel’s harsh winters. Aluminum cladding establishes a modern yet familiar look, and frames the two-storey curtain walls at each end of the learning studio wings, allowing natural light to flood in from all angles. Also contributing to the overall sustainability of the LEED Gold designed building, the entire south-facing wall of the gymnasium is equipped with solar panels to help power the school.
Landscape design surrounding the school adds colour and life to every angle, continuing the connection between outdoor and indoor spaces. Indigenous plants from the Quesnel region envelop the site in stunning arrangements to inspire positive thinking and enhance the outdoor learning environment.
Quesnel Junior School was developed through direct collaboration with students, staff and the community, and is reflected throughout the building. With longevity in mind, the architecture will continue to be a marked feature in the City of Quesnel for generations to come.
School District No 28 (Quesnel)