PETES’ Lab-École Design Now Unveiled

Today, our school board is proud to unveil the winning design for our Lab École project at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School in Hull. This is the result of extensive research and consultations that culminated in an architectural design competition named “Imagining the Schools of Tomorrow, Together”, which grouped five elementary school expansion or building projects throughout the province.

The DMA Architectes firm is the winner of our Lab-École project. The consortium stood out among the 18 proposals submitted. The Western Québec School Board is pleased to make this announcement with Lab-École, the organization in charge of organizing this architectural design competition.

At the Heart of the Courtyard

This new version of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School will offer students a space that will integrate nature as a learning environment and will blur the borders between indoors and outdoors to give the children free reign to explore their environment.

The jury selected the At the Heart of the Courtyard design for its exceptional quality, perfectly in keeping with the school community’s vision. From the start of the process, the different stakeholders expressed a desire to give the students a living environment in which they could develop a sense of belonging to their community through an holistic teaching approach based on discovery and the desegregation of subject matters. This inspired the architects to design an environment that fosters community spirit, with spaces bathed in natural light.

The winner

The project’s design is the work of Montréal-based architectural firm DMA Architectes. It has 60 years of experience in the field, including a number of educational institution projects. From universities to municipal libraries, several buildings throughout Quebec bear its signature. DMA Architectes’ approach is based, among other things, on human connection and the fulfillment of the people who use the spaces it designs.

We also applaud the exceptional work by the competition’s three other finalists: BTAA + Sid Lee Architecture, architects consortium; LRAA + ACSL; STGM Architectes and all the other firms that competed.

For the past several months, DMA Architectes has been working with the Western Québec School Board to produce plans and specifications that will allow the design to evolve as needs change.

To discover the winning design, read the jury’s report and see all of the proposals that were submitted, visit the Canadian Competitions Catalogue website. A catalogue with all 160 proposals submitted for the five Lab-École projects (Saguenay + Shefford + Rimouski + Maskinongé + ours) and the sketch of the Lab-École school in Québec City is also available on The scale models and visuals of the architectural designs will be presented to the population this fall, during an exhibition tour of the communities concerned.

A competition that combined architecture and educational needs

This competition is especially noteworthy for combining the creativity of the architectural world with the needs expressed by the educational sphere. The jury was made up of distinguished representatives from both of these worlds. Lab-École greatly appreciates the invaluable contribution made by the jury members: Gavin Affleck, architect at Affleck de la Riva Architectes and jury chair; David McFall, principal of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary School; Julie Kennedy, chair of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary School’s governing board; Martin Beaulieu, assistant territorial director of the Hull-Aylmer Service Centre, City of Gatineau; Pierre Thibault, architect and senior partner at Atelier Pierre Thibault; Patricia Sarrazin-Sullivan, architect and senior partner at Box Architectures; and Claudia Campeau, architect at Paul Bernier Architecte.

About the PETES Lab-École project
  • The PETES Lab-École project involves expanding and modernizing the Western Quebec School Board’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School. The project represents a $14.9 M investment, financed by the ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES).
  • The project will add eight new classrooms, a gymnasium and more gathering spaces in which to collaborate and eat.
About Lab-École
  • Lab-École is a non-profit organization whose mission is to gather multidisciplinary expertise that will be used to design the schools of tomorrow; schools that meet the needs and reflect the realities of the students and those accompanying them.
  • Lab-École supported the launch of the first school building design competition to be held in Quebec in 50 years. This competition grouped five elementary school expansion and construction projects.
  • Lab-École’s work is based on the contributions made by the hundreds of experts and collaborators who have invested their time and knowledge since Lab-École’s creation.
  • The first Lab-École schools should be ready to welcome students for the fall 2022 semester.
  • Lab-École is financially supported by the MEES.
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