Kennedy Public School - Kennedy_Public_School_1

Kennedy Public School

Kearns Mancini’s renovation of and addition to the Kennedy Public School involved a complex level of integration between the existing school and new spaces, resulting in a design that embraced natural light, transparency and the sensitive integration of colour, which effectively marry the old and the new.

The existing elementary school received an 18,000 sq. ft. addition comprising of a gymnasium expansion, 11 new classrooms and support spaces. While the design of the existing school did not fully utilize its southern exposure, the building addition at the southern part of the school allows for a capitalization of solar energy. This is achieved through the inclusion of louvered sun shades and clerestory openings, which allow natural light to permeate into classrooms and corridors.

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20 Elmfield Crescent, Scarborough, Ontario

Gross Project Area

18,000 sq. ft.


Toronto District School Board


Completed, 2010

Project Value

$4.6 Million

Project Team

Jonathan Kearns, Dan McNeil, Peter Ng, Lucy O’Connor


Tom Arban

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The building addition is bisected by an east-west corridor that feeds into each classroom, providing light and views at each end. The attention paid to the quality of light in the corridors ensured that the circulation space would also behave as a socializing zone, in which students are encouraged to interact between classes. In addition, two in-board classrooms on the second floor obtain natural daylight from the corridor skylight, ensuring that all classrooms benefit from natural light. The project for the Kennedy Public School sought to center its design on this facilitation of natural light within classrooms, given that it has been noted to improve student performance, behaviour and mood.

The judicious use of coloured spandrel panels on the exterior of the building evokes a dynamism and pluralism that speaks to the school’s demography and pedagogy, adding a playful contrast to the school’s recess yard. This use of colour extends within the building, where it is used as a way-finding device. The exterior wall of coloured spandrel glass paneling faces a new children’s play court outside, providing the school with a central exterior space for gatherings and an architectural hierarchy that pronounces the new addition as a beacon.

Overall, The Kennedy Public School renovation and addition serves its community well, providing a progressively-designed learning environment that is imbued with natural light, transparency and colour.

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Despite budgetary restrictions from the onset KMA managed to deliver a highly functional, efficient, yet aesthetically pleasing design for the School Board. The project is on budget and ahead of schedule, largely due to the architectural management skills of the Kearns Mancini team.

Hasan Abuyusuf

Project Supervisor, TDSB

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