TMS Elgin Mills Campus Middle School

Toronto Montessori Middle School, School Elgin Mills Campus,

Richmond Hill, ON, Canada

The new Toronto Montessori Middle School addition involves the creation of a purposed designed spaces for the grade 7 and 8 students and staff for TMS. The two-storey addition includes three classrooms per level, along with breakout spaces and teacher support areas. It is access by a new entrance and central skylit feature staircase interconnecting the levels.

The buildings exterior features a layered exoskeleton mass timber structural system consisting of a mix of fan-shaped, curved, and straight timber columns that run parallel to the facade of the building.

The arrangement of the fan columns recalls the positive ambiguity of consonance and dissonance found in music, in which a listener has the impression of both constancy and tranquillity (consonance) and motion and tension (dissonance), depending on the composition of tones and notes. This creates constant back and forth between consonance and dissonance, giving both shape and a sense of direction to the exterior and interior learning spaces through increased and decreased harmonic tension.

The design of the Elgin Mills Montessori School continues our exploration of Attention Restoration Theory, in which attention, concentration, and focus can be reinvigorated by engaging with nature, natural settings, or environments with natural materials and forms. In these types of places, our mind shifts from a voluntary focus to an involuntary focus. As we know, involuntary focus is very important in restoring and re-energizing voluntary attention, which we use for tasks like studying and problem solving.