Located on the edge of a steep slope in the community of Montgomery, our team was inspired by the unique topography; in order to give back playfields and green space to the neighbourhood, we turned the proposed building 90 degrees from the existing school footprint, and laid the program overtop of the hillside, resulting in a three-storey structure. At the confluence of these levels is the Learning Commons, a program element that blends new methods of learning, teaching, studying and socializing, forming the heart of the school. Tiered seating that extends through the triple-height glazing into the exterior help unite this unique space with the landscape. Horizontal striations from the topography express themselves as ribbons on the facade, bending inward to wrap around the Learning Commons, and establishing datums and patterns that find their way through the entire project at every scale.
The FFCA Charter commands a traditional style of teaching with a contemporary sensibility, challenging us to find the balance within the architecture. Montgomery High School provides a unique variety of spaces that cater to lecture-style teaching but also to collaborative, multi-purpose functions. The interweaving of open spaces, compartmentalized classrooms and specialty program addresses the fluid needs of 21st century teenagers as they navigate the threshold to adulthood.