Appleby College

Our work on the Barr Commons addition at Appleby College represented an extension of the 50-year master plan we developed for the historic campus. The result is a dynamic educational environment that speaks to the way in which our ideas of secondary schools are changing.

The new addition is a nook, added at the intersection of two buildings. The renovation included the first-floor entry and locker room areas, student resource office areas and small study areas.

On the second floor, we developed the design lab. The new lab, situated on what was the roof of the former design, features a large open ceiling where the mechanical systems become a significant feature. The mechanical ductwork serves multiple functions, delivering efficient heating and cooling into the large multi-purpose room, acting as an important teaching tool and leaving the ducts and systems exposed allows for future flexibility.

The space is a hands-on, multi-task environment. It features TVs placed at key points with plugins for laptops and interactive learning. The walls are largely covered in erasable boards so that the students may let their creativity loose.

The desks and chairs are all on wheels, so that students may wheel them quickly out of the way or reconfigure the room quickly and efficiently. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see students projecting themselves from one end of the room to their storage lockers to retrieve supplies or to spy on experiments in other areas of the room. With one wall covered in a pegboard, and generous storage throughout, teachers and students have the ability to tuck away tools and supplies once complete.

As an addition, to avoid to loss of natural light in interior areas of the school, we made an intentional choice to keep the windows from the original enclosure design, creating transparency between the hall and the activity within, and allowing light to filter through the hallway and the adjoining study areas.

We carefully balanced the noise levels of the mechanical solutions with custom acoustic solutions which helped us to maintain the comfort and safety of the students on both floors.

Project Link



Architecture, Conservation + Heritage, Interior Design, Mechanical Engineering, Project Management



Team Leaders

Drew Hauser
Dora Lomax
Mary Georgious

Partners & sub consultants

Entuitive Corporation - Structural
The HIDI Group - Electrical
The Dalton Company Ltd - Contractor


4,200 SQ. FT.