TanenbaumCHAT at the Kimel Family Education CentreEdit profile
The process of designing a new home for the leading Jewish secondary school in North America began with a series of investigations: how to best support the exceptional academic program currently offered by TanenbaumCHAT and how to integrate the building into its context – a Jewish Community Campus in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Significantly, the campus is located along Bathurst Street, which has been an important locating force for Canada’s largest Jewish population. Some 70% of Jewish persons in the GTA live within 8km (5 miles) of this spine. The campus continues the historic Jewish settlement pattern north along Bathurst Street. As the first realized building of the campus, the TanenbaumCHAT secondary school is an important landmark for the community. Two courtyards puncture the mass of the building, anchoring the void that is the transparent heart of the school. The double height library, cafeteria, and atrium spaces flanking the courtyards continue the core void, strengthening the centripetal organizing force. Light spills from the courtyards, across the circulation and into the classrooms that ring the perimeter. The building knits these transparent programmatic elements with views to the campus beyond. This results in an integrated school environment, one which is open and light-filled; which dissolves boundaries and fosters exploration. In turn this has produced a safer, more secure school--a critical client objective. As a result of its close relationship to the surrounding community campus (which has been planned with a diversity of uses and populations including affordable housing, community services, special needs support), this is a facility where each student can see him- or herself in a larger context and begin to understand his or her role in a rich, diverse Jewish community and as part of the world beyond. A monochromatic colour range integrates signage within a robust material palette, acting as a quiet background to the vibrancy of student life. Strongly committed to sustainability, the design marries a highly efficient building envelope with a shared central plant, taking advantage of operations efficiencies and opportunities for shared usage. Future expansion considerations have been included with provisions for a full third floor addition and connection to a future community centre via the gymnasia. Client expectations have been exceeded in terms of both functionality and business goals, evidenced by student enrollment, now increased by over 25%.