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Project Lawrence Grassi Middle School Location Canmore, AB Completion 2008 Size 4,980 m2 Client Canadian Rockies School Division Project Type Concept Share this project:

Lawrence Grassi Middle School

Leading the push for sustainability.

The new École Lawrence Grassi Middle School in Canmore is a replacement of the historic Lawrence Grassi School. The school demonstrates how a rational and cost-effective design utilizing regional materials, notably wood and stone, can create a durable and functional school building. The new facility integrates historical components of the original school such as significant doors and frames.

A significant issue encountered during design was concern in the community regarding the new school’s proximity to adjacent houses; the geometry of the site and location of the existing school resulted in the new building being close to several houses where it could block mountain views. A detailed sight-line analysis was undertaken. The result places taller elements, such as the gymnasium, further away from the adjacent residences. The classroom wing was also sloped downwards to further minimize its visual impact.

Lawrence Grassi Middle School is the first Net Zero certified school in Canada. To meet Net Zero requirements, buildings must achieve a high degree of energy efficiency. The design team achieved this through a high level of insulation in the SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) roof and wood-framed walls, and an efficient mechanical system that used a tempered slab and displacement air distribution. This solution exceeded the LEED Silver requirements for the project without additional costs.


Year Award Organization
2010 Validation of New Building Designs ecoENERGY


Date TitlePublication
2013.10 FeatureAlberta Focus
2009.10 FeatureCanadian Wood Council Special Publication
2008.10 FeatureThe Canmore Leader

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