2002 Governor General’s Medals for Architecture: Strawberry Vale School, Victoria, British Columbia

Patkau Architects Inc.

Strawberry Vale School serves a semi-rural community near Victoria, B.C. It is located on the site of an existing schoolyard and small neighbourhood park to the south. The first Strawberry Vale School, a single-room schoolhouse dating from 1893, still stands. The principle construction material is wood, a readily accessible and renewable resource in British Columbia. Landscape development of the site has taken hydrology and biodiversity into consideration to minimize the impact of building materials on the environment and allow planting and science experiments to become an integral part of the student’s education.

A meandering circulation spine connects the 16 classrooms, grouped in pods of four, to each other and the library, administration area and gymnasium. The relationship to nature is given priority, and classrooms are oriented toward the south to optimize natural illumination within the interior and maximize visual connection to the park.