Since September, the architects have been getting a lot of hate. Well, we feel it’s time to spread the love, time to appreciate the architects. Honestly, stop your shouts of “Our school colours are red and grey! Not green and purple!” and of “What’s with no sitting area outside?” and “Man our auditorium is so small!” The reality is, our new school is amazing. The architects worked with the TDSB, Tridel along with teachers, alumni, and students to come up with the best plan for a new school. They used a feasibility study conducted by an outside party to discover the best way to use the site, while keeping in mind the finances, condominium residents, and patrons of the school. This study helped create a blueprint for what this school was to become. And with the TDSB funding restrictions, they had to figure out what they could and could not afford to put into the new school.
Whether you want to admit it or not, they did a pretty good job. Our commons is unconventional and unique. The heritage courtyard brings a sense of identity to this new school. The library, is a social centre filled with books and a casual environment to work in. The auditorium is beautiful. It does fit 600 people.
We had a chance to speak with Paul Cravit, the principal architect from the architecture firm CS&P, which was in charge of the team of 30 people of various trades to design the new NT.
The architects did indeed think about the students. Paul himself spoke about all the things that were done for the students. Once the fence is torn down to reveal the brand new field, bleachers and public walkway, students will feel as though there is a “porch” to the school. “It will be an ideal place for kids to hang out, do work, and socialize. We believed in creating spaces for all of out of classroom learning done through socializing. We hope that people on spare will use the commons and courtyard as those socializing spaces.”
What up with the green and purple? We posed this very question to Paul, except without dropping the copula. Paul replied, “We knew there was going to be controversy. We tried to create a space that was more sophisticated. The notion of just painting the school colours on the walls is kind of a high school idea. We wanted to go for a more for a more sophisticated style, like that of universities.” And you know what? He’s right. Have people complaining about the lack of red and grey actually imagined how the school would look decked out in red and grey? It’ll look a damn sight worse, I can tell you that. The architects have smartly kept the school colours in the gym, though, where many of our Norsemen will face their adversaries for years to come.
A lot of people are hating on the architects for things they aren’t even responsible for. Small lockers, small classrooms, small whatever, you can chalk up to the TDSB. Same with the lack of a pool. On the other hand, the architects, mindful that things may change for pools in schools some distant day in the future, made provisions underground for a pool to be built under the field.
Another reason why the architects have been getting so much hate is because of the rumours about not being able to put up posters, decorations, and the like. Well, it’s not Paul’s call. “It’s your home,” he says. “You can do whatever you like.”
Paul and his team of architects did something that many people felt would be impossible. Creating a unique space combining housing and a public building is difficult, but the new NT is evidence of what can be done. All we ask, and they ask, is for you to respect them and all of their efforts.