Abbotsford Senior Secondary School
Craven Huston Powers Architects
This addition and renovation builds on the school’s rich 60-year history, using finely detailed and expressive structural systems to create unique spaces that tie together a range of civic functions.
Built in 1952, Abbotsford Senior School required significant renovations and upgrades as well as an addition of a secondary school, combined with a civic library and neighbourhood learning centre. The LEED Gold certified complex is anchored by a central rotunda which serves as a physical and symbolic focal point. Corridors serving the various programs and communal spaces radiate outwards from tiered, concentric rings of cantilevered concrete. The rotunda itself is a soaring 3 storey volume with generous daylighting, capped by an intricate wood roof structure. This and other multi-level spaces throughout the complex serve performative functions aiding in daylighting and ‘stack effect’ natural ventilation.
The school was principally constructed using tilt-up concrete panels with structural steel framing supporting concrete on metal deck flooring. The tilt-up panel system pushed the envelope for maximum panel weights and included curved site-cast elements. Stained and natural panels are left exposed and in combination with decorative steel and wood elements create an expressive structural language. Wood decking is used for classroom roofs and other wood elements are used in feature applications. Seismic upgrades were made to critical spaces including two gymnasiums, weight and band rooms, and a 700-seat performing arts centre as part of renovations to the existing building.