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Havergal College Junior and Upper School

Toronto, ON
  • Bldg system

    Mass Timber

  • No. Of Stories


  • Sq. footage


The Havergal College master plan envisions an expanded and sustainable campus for a leading independent day and boarding school for girls from JK to Grade 12. The extent of the campus grounds, the unique topography of the ravine and woodland that traverse the site, the historic and contemporary architecture, and the placement of all within a highly urban context are unique to Havergal. The plan builds upon these features, expanding the school to create an enhanced environment for enriched learning, inquiry, and teaching excellence.
The work was implemented through two phased projects: a two-story expansion to the Junior School and a three-story expansion and renovation of the Upper School. Both projects are designed to meet the Toronto Green Standard and achieve LEED Gold certification, setting a new standard for energy efficiency and green building on the campus. In each project, mass timber structure, interior finishes, and exterior wood components were designed as signature elements, each relating to the school’s woodland
grounds—evoking the natural setting of the campus and strengthening bonds between students and environment. Alteration and expansion of the Junior School create a series of shared and age-specific spaces for JK–6 students. The new transparent front entrance is sheltered by a copper and heat-treated wood-clad canopy, providing a welcoming point of arrival. The dining room, a generous double height gathering space, has expansive views toward the ravine and wooded surroundings. In good weather, activities open to the adjacent green. Exposed glulam timber column/beam/ girt structure and NLT wood deck continue the material palette of wood, stone, and glass from the exterior to interior feature spaces, classrooms, and hallways.
The new 22,000-sq.ft. addition to the Upper School has transformed an underutilized service area, creating a new landscaped courtyard alongside three stories of studios, and adaptable teaching and gathering space. The efficient narrow floorplates of the new addition provide extensive daylight and views between new and existing architecture, the “quilted garden” court, and the adjacent ravine setting.
The warm material palette of exposed glulam timber and steel elements, polished concrete floors, NLT ceilings and millwork, and generous glazing connect the classrooms and hallways on each floor. The atrium with exposed glulam timber elements, a Douglas fir feature stair, and a green wall acts as the main gathering space for Upper School students and opens to the garden court. The triple skylight casts sunlight through the atrium and informal study spaces that overlook the student commons. Within the atrium and studios, mass timber curtainwall wind posts frame views to the adjacent landscape.
At the Upper School, an alternative building code solution was developed to address the use of combustible construction based on the inherent fire-resistive performance of heavy timber, complying with Ontario’s Building Code timber dimensional requirements, and extending the height limitations for this construction to three stories. The budget for wood construction was identified early and endorsed, given the lessons of sustainability and environmental awareness that were key aspects of the project.

  • Building Type:


  • Material Types:

    Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam)

Companies Involved:
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