This was a personal project for Fast + Epp’s Founding Partner Paul Fast, whose children attended the school. Its design was driven by economy and a desire to create a non-institutional environment that would be visually warm and welcoming.

Project Essentials

  • LocationRichmond, BC
  • ClientRichmond Christian School
  • ArchitectKMBR and Florian Maurer Architect
  • Size37,700 ft² (3,502 m²)
  • BudgetC$6 million

Our firm developed a simple glulam post-and-beam system, exposed where appropriate. For the entrance canopy and foyer, Fast + Epp utilized a nailed plank construction technique, so the canopy appears to float above its slender supporting steel portal frames.

The north-facing exterior wall of the gymnasium was fully glazed above a 2.4m datum level. Here the glulam columns and transom beams resist the wind forces acting on the curtain wall, reducing the required depth of the extruded aluminum mullions. The remaining gym structure and finishes are almost exclusively wood.

In the classroom areas, we used a similar exposed glulam frame to form the exterior wall structure, adding visual warmth. Window sill glulam doubles as a seating area for students – a creative, functional and inexpensive treatment.

This project serves as an example of what practical, disciplined structural design can create on a modest budget. Staff and students love the abundance of daylight in the gym and extensive use of exposed wood.