Chippewas of Nawash New Elementary School Project wins 2016 Wood WORKS Award

The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, New Elementary School Project located in Cape Croker, Ontario is the winner of the 2016 Ontario Wood Council – Jury’s Choice Award. Architect: MMMC Architects | Engineer: Blackwell The Kindergarten to Grade 8 School was designed and sited to respond to the remoteness of the location and the rugged beauty of the west shores of Georgian Bay. Great care was taken to respond respectfully to the sensitivities of the land and the culture of the First Nation. The main structure is heavy timber hybrid with heavy timber beams and roof deck. Supplementary steel columns and bracing were used where practical or more cost effective. A ceremonial space is located centrally within the school on symbolic crossroads to the Place of Knowledge. Equipped with simple earth sourced materials including stone and wood, the volume is generous and tall, like ancient forests. Silhouettes of thunderbirds cast shadows to the north mimicking monumental cliffs of the surrounding land. Minimalist wooden benches furnish the space which is dedicated to the ancestors and history of the First Nation. Wooden screens inspired by indigenous motifs are used throughout the common areas to control noise and screen mechanical systems from public view. The screens, reminiscent of woven baskets, enhance the spirit of the structure and connect this new building with local culture and heritage. –