Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2024 Recipient - École de l'Étincelle, un Lab-École | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture - 2024 Recipient - École de l'Étincelle, un Lab-École

École de l'Étincelle, un Lab-École
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Agence Spatiale | BGLA Architecture | APPAREIL Architecture

Owner/ Client: Centre de services scolaire des Rives-du-Saguenay
Interior / exterior area, in square metres: 3577 m2
Exact construction contract value /building cost of the project: $16.75 million
Date of Occupancy: March 24, 2023 

École de l’Étincelle, un Lab-École proposes to deconstruct the conventional school and transform it into a warm, accessible and child-friendly scale. Fragmented into small houses that evoke the vernacular architecture of Quebec, the building’s massing offers a variety of visual landmarks, creating a reassuringly familiar architecture. The primary mission: to create a school that feels like home. The École de l’Étincelle has been designed with meticulous attention to details and offers a vision of what institutional architecture in Quebec could become. 

Abridged Project Credits:
(see Architecture Canada publication out in Fall 2024 for more details)

Client : Commission scolaire des Rives du Saguenay 
Firms / Architects: Agence Spatiale – APPAREIL Architecture – BGLA Architecture 
Photography: Maxime Brouillet et Étienne Bernier
General Contractor – AMEC Construction Inc.
Constructor – AMEC Construction Inc.
Engineers – LGT (now WSP)
Landscape architects – Collectif Escargo + Rousseau Lefebvre
Environmental and Sustainability Consultants - MARTIN ROY & ASSOCIÉS
Electricity – Électricité Sirois
Mechanical – Pro–Sag mécanique inc.
Plumbing – Pro–Sag mécanique inc.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning – Pro–Sag mécanique inc.
Artist – Mathieu Valade
Architectural software used – Revit, Autocad, 3DsMax, Sketchup 


Jury Comment(s): 

Stemming from the new Quebec elementary school program, which is based on the development of spaces that enable a diversity of learning activities and promote collaboration, the École de l'Étincelle proposes an original solution, organized around the courtyard. The jury notes the interest of this organization, which favors intuitive orientation for children wherever they are in the school, and offers, on the first floor, a direct relationship between each classroom occupied by the youngest pupils and the outdoor space. The scale of the building, divided into modules reminiscent of a house, contributes to the children's sense of ownership and comfort. The jury salutes the substantial use of wood (structure, exterior cladding, interior finishes, integrated furniture), which gives the school a strong identity and helps reduce its carbon footprint.

2024 Jury

Click for full version: 
School entrance and small house typology

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette

Inner courtyard and mobility–enhancing playground, visual connection with the bleachers

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette

Inner courtyard and mobility–enhancing equipment

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette

Collaborative area, bleachers

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette

Collaborative area, Chalet

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette

Shared kitchen, view of vegetable garden

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette

Collaborative area, interstice

PHOTO - Maxime Brouillette