Completion: 2018
Owner: Vancouver Board of Education

Kingsford-Smith School Seismic Upgrade

Vancouver, BC

The seismic upgrade of the Kingsford-Smith Elementary School provided a great opportunity for the renewal of this 1950’s school building, thanks to a thorough analysis of scope and costs combined with our search for synergies between functional goals and structural requirements. This search led to an imaginative structural solution that enabled the integration of 21st Century educational principles into the old building, as well as the transformation of the school’s dark and dysfunctional entry into a bright, colourful and welcoming area.

In addition to resolving several functional and security deficiencies, the project managed to introduce new school commons and multi-use areas that are intended to support 21st Century learning methods such as independent and project-based learning.

The seismic solutions included a variety of strategies, selected for their efficiency and flexibility, to anchor the structure, prevent the fall of concrete masonry units, and add connectors between structural components. These solutions enabled the retention of the original design where desirable, including: the main exterior facades (with their distinctive horizontal glass blocks and continuous ribbon windows) and the extra-large classrooms with their adjoining cloak rooms. Where appropriate, structural solutions were conceived to efficiently alter the original design and provide modernized facilities more apt to support contemporary learning modes.

Photos: Michael Elkan

Related work: Schools