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Elementary School Blends Into Vancouver Urban Fabric With Alucobond PLUS

Crosstown Elementary School, Francl Architecture, Vancouver, Keith Panel Systems, Alucobond PLUS, LEED Gold, Photography Michael Elkan
photography © Michael Elkan

Project Name: Crosstown Elementary School
Project Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Alucobond Materials: Alucobond® PLUS Bone White, Platinum Mica, Dusty Charcoal, Custom Blue Ice Satin, Custom Carat Amber Satin, Custom Sunset Satin
Architect: Francl Architecture
Fabricator/Installer: Keith Panel Systems
General Contractor: ITC Construction Group
Images: Alissa Reed and Michael Elkan (copyright below image)

Architecture can often become a product of its environment, responding to community needs while blending into an already established environment. In the case of Crosstown Elementary School, its creation was in response to Vancouver’s imminent need for more primary education facilities. The result is a four-story structure that blends seamlessly into the “urban fabric” of the Canadian cityscape.

Crosstown Elementary School is the first urban school to be built by the Vancouver School Board (VSB) in a decade. Francl Architecture designed the “non-traditional” school as they refer to it. The structure accommodates over 500 children from Kindergarten through seventh grade. The building is connected to an existing daycare and a residential high-rise, and interestingly built upon a below ground parking structure.

Crosstown Elementary School, Francl Architecture, Vancouver, Keith Panel Systems, Alucobond PLUS, LEED Gold, Photography Michael Elkan
photography © Michael Elkan

The school responds to its urban surroundings with a fresh white and charcoal façade with vibrant louvers and pops of colors throughout the exterior. The southern portion of the façade, along Expo Boulevard, features extruding blocks of color that indicate interior reading nooks. While the eastern portion of the façade features two distinct elements, one white, one grey, that identify the main entrance to the school.

Crosstown Elementary School, Francl Architecture, Vancouver, Keith Panel Systems, Alucobond PLUS, LEED Gold, Photography Alissa Reed
photography © Alissa Reed

The exterior utilized six Alucobond PLUS finishes in Bone White, Platinum Mica, Dusty Charcoal, and three custom colors; Blue Ice Satin, Carat Amber Satin and Sunset Satin. The panels were fabricated and installed by Keith Panel Systems utilizing their ventilated rainscreen System B. The architects at Francl Architecture describe, “The colored panels and sunshades add a playful element, contrasting with the surrounding neutral-toned residential towers and the often grey, rainy skies common to the Pacific Northwest.”

Crosstown Elementary School, Francl Architecture, Vancouver, Keith Panel Systems, Alucobond PLUS, LEED Gold, Photography Michael Elkan
photography © Michael Elkan

These same color accents are utilized throughout the interior as well. The interior features 22 classrooms, a full-size gymnasium, a centralized stairway, and various multipurpose communicative spaces. The bright interior is consistently hit with a surge of natural light.

Crosstown Elementary School, Francl Architecture, Vancouver, Keith Panel Systems, Alucobond PLUS, LEED Gold, Photography Alissa Reed
photography © Alissa Reed

General contractors at ITC Construction Group explain, “The first portion of construction required the full structural and seismic upgrading of the existing parkade to ensure it could support the new structure…the parkade remained fully-operational throughout the entire construction process.” These seismic upgrades under the National Building Code (NBC) have been a bigger project by the Vancouver government since 2001 to replace or revamp structures throughout the city to bring them up to code.

The building immediately attracts attention with its bold use of color variations throughout the façade. Its design creates a beacon for young minds to converge and signifies the bright future of the students within. The architects note, “Beyond being a direct reaction to the lack of color utilized throughout the City, it is also meant to enhance the learning environment which influences children every day.”

information courtesy of Francl Architecture, ITC Construction Group and Keith Panel Systems
photography © Alissa Reed and Michael Elkan

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