U-Turn Alternative Learning
Waterloo Region District School Board
G. Bruce Stratton Architects
This project involved an expansion to the existing U-Turn Alternative Learning facility located in a warehouse building at 151 Weber St. S. Full retrofit of an adjacent 15,100 sf area was completed, adding a number of classrooms, a teaching kitchen, pottery and art studio, multipurpose room/gymnasium, resource room and a study space. Exterior upgrades were also completed, including a new entrance area, new windows, and added skylights to bring in more natural light, particularly over an interior garden area.
Durability was a key factor in the selection of materials, balanced with the design intention to create a rehabilitative environment to encourage flexible learning. Undulating forms and glazed partitions highlight the central common spaces, communicating a sense of transparency and movement. Wood finishes and a vibrant colour palette are also used to create a welcoming place.
Shelving in the garden and nearby common areas are anticipated to become living walls filled with plants cared for by students. The idea was a cost-effective solution for bringing nature to the interior - a teaching opportunity that also reduces the need for maintenance by staff.