Official Completion of Samuel Brighouse Elementary School

The final phase of the new Samuel Brighouse Elementary School is complete giving students full access to the new facility and surrounding landscape. The new school puts sustainability on display for students with local wood, PV panels, natural daylighting, a green roof and an interactive data panel.

The 4,700sqm Brighouse Elementary School in Richmond, British Columbia, officially opens its doors to staff, students and the community this Friday, October 28th. While the new classrooms were opened to students and teachers this past April, Friday marks the official completion of the school with the opening of the revitalized gymnasium and the Neighborhood of Leaning Centre. Perkins+Will designed the facilities in conjunction with the firm's LA office.

The process of developing a new K-12 facility for the community began with the student's engagement and they've stayed involved throughout design, construction and through to completion. Students have made their mark on the design through a student committee, project blog and various open houses and workshops. Their input was applied to substantiate many decisions made throughout the design process, such as the provision for ample natural light, brightly coloured walls, community gardens and touch-screen technology. This inclusive collaborative design process has instilled a sense of ownership into everyone involved.

The new facilities include flexible and adaptable programmatic elements to foster diverse, educational environments and promote collaborative and interactive learning experiences. The school also hosts a Neighborhood of Learning Centre that will support community-based requirements and is home to a municipal adult literacy program.

The school demonstrates several high-performance sustainable strategies, including natural ventilation, maximizing natural daylight and a green roof that is a demonstrative teaching tool. Plans include a minimum 45 percent energy reduction through triple glazing and a high performance envelope. The project is targeting LEED Gold certification for New Construction.

The success of the project is being realized on many levels. "The new school began with a vision that the district had. It's all about collaboration with the community, the foundations of learning, diversity, respect and innovation through environmental stewardship," says Peter Busby, Principal Architect on the project. "It's important to teach the next generation about sustainability because it's their future. Throughout the fabric of the school and the landscape you see the highest regard for sustainable design principals; from the green roof to the gardens, building materials to the systems that support the building. This school demonstrates environmental leadership."

"There will be grass growing on the roof. There won't be many light bulbs in the new school, but there will be a lot of windows to let natural light in. We have the greenest and best school ever!"
- VY, Grade 4

"What really struck me was the amount of natural light, even in winter; the winter sunlight illuminated the central hall and showcased the visually stunning roof line."
- Linda McPhail Richmond Board of Education Chair

The community and student involvement in the process of designing and building Brighouse Elementary School is chronicled in the project's design blog.