A Concept Designed for Curious, Creative Thinkers
Vancouver Innovation, Technology, & Arts (VITA) Elementary School
Open, bright, and flexible in countless ways, the concept for Vancouver Innovation, Technology, and Arts (VITA) Elementary School is based on the idea that learning happens everywhere. Through its unique layout and cohesive sequencing, this 63,454 SF building has been designed to offer creative learners and teachers a space that will nurture curiosity, help them develop a design-minded approach to solving problems, and participate in an empowering and joyful learning experience.
Vancouver Public Schools
Total Square Footage
LSW Architects and Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) teamed up during pre-design to imagine an environment that would reflect VITA’s interdisciplinary curriculum and provide the tools necessary to capture the imagination of its students. The result of this collaboration is a school that feels entirely connected and cohesive: from room to room and between the school’s interior and the playground outside. The removal of traditional barriers, such as fixed walls between classrooms, becomes a metaphor and an invitation for students to draw from their own varying interests and develop new solutions to common problems.
The school features high ceilings and open, learning studios that can be reconfigured to accommodate larger groups and lecture-style demonstrations. This caters well to its exploratory curriculum and reinforces a sense of connection across the site. An abundance of windows and access points offer students and teachers a view of the playground and outdoors, where the learning experience extends into various play spaces.
In addition to the neurological benefits of natural daylight, these qualities also promote a more energy-efficient campus.
This project brought our architectural and interior studio teams together to produce an interior experience that is inquisitive, inspirational, flexible, and fun. Bright colors and natural materials provide the backdrop to the learning experience throughout the building and across the campus.
Key learning objectives include identifying systems and spatial layouts that enable flexibility and adaptability of learning environments. This is key to the school's limitless approach to collaboration, giving students the freedom to explore all major areas of the curriculum in a project-based fashion.
While the design for VITA meets the requirements for the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol, it was important for staff and students to expand on these features in ways that enhance the user experience.
Below are a few examples that capture the school’s commitment to a sustainable program:
Ability to be ready for 32kW of photovoltaic panels on the rooftop
Dimmable LED lighting
95% efficient water heaters