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The intent of the landscape design is to create a safe and welcoming outdoor environment that reflects Cree culture and inspires students to play and learn outdoors.  Furthermore the landscape is designed to create a seamless continuation between the interior and exterior spaces.

A prominent feature is the expression of circular waves sandblasted in the concrete entrance areas, inspired by the traditional beading.  The pattern is a continuation of the interior floor design, and also subtly transforms a concrete entryway into a striking and functional art piece, that is both exquisite and unpretentious.

The landscape as a whole was designed to emphasise and support Cree culture and values with land based learning being an essential part of Cree education. In support of this, the site features a garden area, outdoor working tables and a permanent fire pit and gathering area, connected by meandering paths. The meandering nature of the paths is not only symbolic of a journey, but also reminiscent of the waves of Saddlelake

Grasses and other traditional plants surround those areas to provide shelter and provide a more contained space.

The natural playground is shaped in the form of a wave around a large tree with a circular play area underneath. The tree represents the teaching of the sacred tree and will grow with the school. The playground will include several hills, connected through, logs, balancing beams and climbing equipment and feature a double hill slide. Kids can challenge themselves moving along the playground climbing from one element to the next without ever touching the ground. The play area will be interplanted with smaller shrubs or trees to provide a seamless integration with the natural environment.

Additional feature elements include an open water channel terminating in a rain garden, a sledding hill and a small sports field.  All planting on site is native and includes traditional edible plants such as Saskatoon berries, raspberries, sour cherries as well as medicinal plants such as birch, sweet grass and sage.


New Construction K-6 School
Saddle Lake Reserve, Alberta
Manasc Isaac Architects Ltd.
Anticipated in Fall 2020

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