Case Study: Kitsilano Secondary Renewal Project

About This Project

When students walk into Kitsilano Secondary School, they pass the original 90-year-old facade, preserved and seismically upgraded as part of the school’s renewal project, and enter a “21st century learning environment” featuring energy-efficient lighting, heating, and plumbing; indoor and outdoor learning spaces; and classroom layouts that support the latest individual and group teaching techniques.


While the original facade connects the school to its heritage, Kitsilano Secondary School was designed for the future. It’s certified LEED Gold and accommodates up to 1,500 students plus staff. It has a new library, three gyms, an atrium with lively social spaces, a 350-seat performance theatre, music and drama rehearsal spaces, and a neighbourhood learning centre with an exhibition space, as well as classrooms, science labs, and art studios, all designed with easy-to-relocate partitions to adapt to changing needs of students and teachers.


Scope of Services

For the renewal project, which was completed in fall 2017, BKL provided full acoustical design services. The team helped to develop acoustically robust and inclusive spaces, reviewed construction drawings for consistency with the project specific acoustical requirements, and assessed project-specific and alternate solutions to construction proposals.


To control exterior noise ingress, BKL made recommendations for acoustical treatments for the facade. Furthermore, BKL developed and implemented sound-isolating assemblies for noise critical spaces, and determined room finishes to control reverberant sound in learning and common areas.


For example, public spaces throughout the school feature a wood-slat finish over sound-absorbing treatment. This design element helped the project meet the requirements of BC’s Wood First Act and, at the same time, ensures good acoustics in reverberant-prone areas like the atria, commons, which were used as ad-hoc break-out learning spaces, and circulation walkways.


In addition, BKL advised on best practices for managing and controlling noise and vibration from mechanical services to the varied uses within the school, as well as minimizing noise emitted to the surrounding neighbourhood.


The 350-seat theatre was designed to provided excellent acoustical conditions for both intimate drama performances and musical productions for the benefit of both the school and the proposed community uses. Also, BKL consulted on the strategic placement of acoustical treatment in music rehearsal and performance spaces.


Project Benefits

Working with Bouygues Building, architects KMBR, and the rest of the design-build team, BKL navigated the challenges of designing acoustics for LEED projects and made sure each space would have suitable acoustics for its intended use. In doing so, BKL participated in a project that, due to its energy efficiency, expanded capacity, and cutting-edge learning environment, will benefit students, staff, and the community now and well into the future.


kitsilano secondary

Project Name:

Kitsilano Secondary Renewal Project

Year Completed:


Capital Cost:

$62 million

Total Area:

207,873 square feet

Case Studies, Education & Research
Building Services Noise & Vibration, LEED, Music Acoustics, Room Acoustics, Sound Isolation, Theatre Acoustics