École Au-cœur-de-l’île


Comox, BC


4,500 square metres



Structural Engineer

Equilibrium, A Katerra Company

Project Materials

Cross-laminated timber (CLT)




Solid-sawn heavy timber

Structural Systems

Hybrid / Other

Low rise

Passive House / High performance

Post + beam


The school on the east coast of Vancouver Island incorporated reclaimed wood into its design, as well as glue-laminated timber (glulam) and mass timber panels, topped off with a 3,000-square-metre timber roof.

  • Reclaimed timber and sustainably harvest wood were incorporated into the school.
  • The 3,000 square-metre roof is made of timber.
  • The interior featured exposed glue-laminated-timber (glulam) beams and mass timber panels.

École Au-coeur-de-l’ile is truly a 21st century school that looks to the future by offering significant educational and environmental leadership. During the day, it delivers cutting-edge learning opportunities for 380 francophone students from kindergarten to grade 12 in the Courtenay and Comox Valley region. At night, the building turns into a community hub. The building is a lesson in sustainable design and construction. It demonstrates the latest in sustainable building techniques, with a LEED gold standard certification.

Unique & resourceful design

Reclaimed Douglas-fir from the site’s previous building was used to construct a 7.5-metre glazing wall. Salvaged wood was also used to build benches and display cabinets. Interior spaces used exposed glulam beams and mass timber panels to form unique reading alcoves and multi-purpose spaces. The building has a 3,000 square-metre wood roof.

Leading by example

The project involved the demolition of the former building and salvaging of timber for re-use in the new school. Other sustainability practices include natural ventilation, daylighting, geoexchange energy and rainwater harvesting.