Samuel Brighouse Elementary School

Location

Richmond, BC

Size

4,777 square metres

Completion

2011

Architect

Perkins and Will

Structural Engineer

Fast+Epp

Roof Fabrication and Installation

StructureCraft Builders Inc.

Wood Species

Douglas-fir

SPF

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Being built of locally sourced timber including wood salvaged from BC’s mountain pine beetle outbreak and incorporating its own community garden—Samuel Brighouse Elementary School is a design of environmental education and stewardship.
  • Abundant use of wood includes a post-and-beam structure, wall framing, decking, millwork and interior panels.
  • An undulating nail-laminated timber (NLT) wood roof demonstrates the beauty and structural capacity of dimension lumber.
  • Makes efficient use of wood affected by the mountain pine beetle outbreak.

Making nature elementary  

Samuel Brighouse Elementary makes wood and natural materials central to its design.  Sustainable features and a community garden reinforce a curriculum focused on environmental stewardship. The school provides educators, support staff, and more than five hundred students from kindergarten to grade 7 with modern classrooms, offices, special education facilities, a computer lab, a library, and a gymnasium. A two-storey atrium offers students a dramatic and inviting entry to the school, built primarily of locally sourced wood and mass timber. Its double height glazing floods the common space in warm, natural light while giving views to the outside greeneryIt also contains an adult literacy centre that serves the wider community.  

Timber takes top marks 

The facility’s abundant use of wood includes a post-and-beam structure, wall framing, roof decking, millwork as interior doors, and protective wall panels. An undulating nail-laminated timber (NLT) roof, made with two-by-fours and steel V-shaped king-posts, demonstrates the beauty and structural capacity of dimension lumber. Its prefabricated panels—much of the wood coming from forests affected by the mountain pine beetle—were built off-site, expediting construction and cutting the installation time by half. The roof offers the added benefit of passive ventilation, through windows at the peaks of each wave—improving comfort, energy efficiency and air quality.  

We chose wood as the primary expressive material for this project, transforming it into an evocative architectural gesture that demonstrates the beauty and capacity of dimensional wood.

Robert Drew, Project Architect, Perkins and Will