Crosstown Elementary School responds to a significant shift in the delivery of primary education in Vancouver. The need for urban schools has increased significantly, commanding a new approach, which results in non-traditional buildings fit within the urban fabric. In this case, it is a 4-storey structure for 510 children from kindergarten to grade 7, sharing a public park and connected to an existing daycare and 30-storey residential tower. In addition, the new school was built directly above an existing two-storey below-grade parkade. The existing structure required major upgrades to ensure it met the new seismic code which the new school was designed to. The massing and articulation of the school is designed as a response to its context and programmatic elements. Each of the set-backs from the residential tower are expressed on the southern façade of the building as a definitive linear transition at each level. This stepped massing extends out towards Andy Livingstone Park, creating a 3-storey box above an open, transparent ground floor. The south façade is punctuated by a series of colourful reading nooks that project from the classrooms, creating a visual connection to the street while facilitating interaction and study. The proportions and colour of these reading nooks vary, producing a lively dynamic expression along Expo Boulevard. The eastern façade is effectively composed of two distinct frames that are separated to define the main entrance to the school. The two elements are fragmented and articulated through a differentiation of colour and size, creating a vertical connection of glazing, which allows daylight to reach all depths and levels of the building. The coloured panels and sunshades add a playful element, contrasting with the surrounding neutral-toned residential towers and the often grey, rainy skies common to the Pacific Northwest. Colours utilized on the exterior are then transferred to the interior finishes. Public spaces are located on the ground floor level, including gymnasium, multipurpose spaces and a servery, where full-height glazing creates a strong visual connection to the street and park, while promoting an enhanced community presence within the school. The link between the ground floor and the rest of the school is created by the implementation of a central open stair way. This stair starts at the main entry and remains open thru to Level 04, creating a visual and auditory connection and ensuring no level is isolated from the rest of the school population. The stair also provides a large open space on each floor with daylighting that reaches the centre of the building and beyond. Learning studios, library and kindergarten take up the top three floors of the building, which elevates the majority of teaching spaces above the busy street scape. These spaces are linked by the outdoor learning spaces on Levels 03 & 04, which were also used as a buffer to the existing residential towers directly adjacent the school. The use of colour on this school is integral to the design. Beyond being a direct reaction to the lack of colour utilized throughout the City, it is also meant to enhance the learning environment which influences children every day.