Project Essentials

  • LocationNanaimo, BC
  • ClientDiscover Montessori
  • ArchitectCheckwitch Poiron Architects Inc
  • Size12,492 sq. ft. (1160sq. m.)
  • Sustainable FeaturesTargets Canada Green Building Council Zero Carbon Building (CaGBC ZCB)

The Discover Montessori School in Nanaimo, British Columbia, boasts an innovative and inclusive building that serves as an inspiring educational environment for children. This project consists of a ten-classroom Montessori farming school on the Agricultural Land Reserve outside of Nanaimo, BC. The project was required to demonstrate how the site can be “easily returnable to farm use” and “light on the land” to allow the land to be used for potential future farm uses.

Strengthening an existing farm-use building to meet the standards for a school building posed an intriguing challenge. Our team proposed a floor and roof system constructed from prefabricated trusses, enhancing the structure’s economic efficiency, reducing weight, and ensuring the site’s easy reversion to farm use. The retaining wall surrounding the building was also crafted from light-frame wood, minimizing the project’s carbon footprint. Our team adeptly met the challenge of fulfilling the stringent envelope and energy efficiency requirements by meticulously detailing structural connections on the roof and exterior of the building.

The school targets the Canada Green Building Council Zero Carbon Building (CaGBC ZCB) and has won a BC Embodied Carbon Award for Large Buildings in 2023. With its thoughtfully designed building and commitment to holistic education, Discover Montessori School stands as a beacon of innovation and excellence in early childhood education in Nanaimo, BC.

Images: Tony Colangelo