August 16, 2006
by Canadian Architect
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has just published the third edition of its Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities. The St. John Ambulance Headquarters in Edmonton, designed by Manasc Isaac Architects, was one of only 65 buildings from 20 different countries to make the list.
The Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities concerns the idea that the design and use of physical space can have a significant impact on the quality of education. Buildings are classified by level of education (six different levels from pre-school to post-secondary). The schools are then reviewed and evaluated by an international jury made up of four officials. They then choose facilities from each classification that excel in any or all of the criteria. The facilities are analyzed based on five criteria: flexibility, community needs, sustainability, safety and security, and alternative financing.
The new St. John Ambulance Headquarters was chosen based on its outstanding performance in three areas: meeting community needs, sustainability and safety and security. The jury commended the facility’s symbolic design and its sustainable features, which result in the building using 55% less water and 48% less energy than most schools in Canada. The jury also noted a commitment to the community with participation by many stakeholders from the beginning of the project onward. The net result is a building that helps student learn in a healthier and more productive environment while providing community residents with a beacon that is promoting the regeneration of their mature neighbourhood.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and Development is a unique forum where the governments of 30 democracies work together to address contemporary economic, social and environmental issues.