Claude Watson School for the Arts

Claude Watson School for the Arts, Toronto-Canada, Kohn Shnier
Construction year: 2006
Address: 130 Doris Ave, North York, ON | TORONTO | Canada
Latitude/Longitude: 43.7650662, -79.408887

The building is sited along a secondary road but adjacent to high density, high-rise residential buildings — a hybrid condition that is simultaneously urban and suburban. In response, the project creates a simple and clear form with a strong street presence while providing an image of performance and accessibility.

The 50,000 square foot programme includes staff and technical facilities, conventional class rooms, music rooms, drama rooms, art rooms, a small gymnasium and multi purpose room. Varying sizes in space were required, achieved by shifting the corridor laterally between floor levels.

The hallway on the lowest level is located entirely on one side, freeing up the rest of the floor plate to create large spaces for the gymnasium and music rooms. This level is slightly sunken into the ground, allowing for higher ceiling levels of the programmes while maintaining the proportion of the building massing. The second level corridor shifts by about a third to create parallel zones for administration and service rooms, as well as medium-sized special programme areas. The hallway here opens onto the double-height space of the gymnasium below and showcases the clear-span truss structure.

At the top level, the corridor is in the middle of the floor plate creating a conventional double-loaded classroom arrangement and leads, on axis, to the library. The library is expressed as a floating volume, projecting over and protecting an outdoor performance space/bleacher below it.

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