Spark School: Saguenay’s Unique Learning Haven

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Project Highlights

Project name: École de l’Étincelle (Lab-École Saguenay)
Location: 870 Rue Boily, Chicoutimi, QC G7J 2Y4

Client: Commission Scolaire des Rives du Saguenay
Firm: Consortium Agence SpatialeAPPAREIL ArchitectureBGLA Architecture
Project sector/type: École primaire
Start of the project: Octobre 2019

Completed project: Septembre 2023
Total surface area: 3 577
Budget: 16,75 M$
Photo credits: Maxime Brouillet et Étienne Bernier

In the heart of Joachim Park, Chicoutimi, Saguenay, a groundbreaking collaboration between Agence Spatiale, Appareil Architecture, and BGLA architecture has given rise to L’École de l’Étincelle. This architectural gem redefines conventional schooling, turning it into a friendly and accessible environment rooted in the natural charm of Saguenay.

A Reimagined Educational Approach

The architects set out to deconstruct the traditional institutional school building, focusing on creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for children. By building structures at their scale and providing readable spaces with various reference points, the school’s architecture reflects its characteristic educational approach.

Cultivating a Love for Learning

Mélanie Girard, the school’s director, emphasizes the transformative power of a spark, describing it as the light that can give birth to great changes and dreams. L’École de l’Étincelle’s spark has led to an environment where students can develop into their best selves, fostering a love for learning and a sense of comfort akin to being at home.

Reflecting Saguenay’s Way of Life

The school mirrors the typical Saguenay way of life by relying on local resources, with its entire structure made of wood. This eco-responsible approach not only supports sustainability but also solidifies the school’s connection to the community it serves.

Innovative Design for Varied Functions

The school’s interior design includes three distinct wings, each serving different functions. From staff rooms and preschool classrooms to a community learning hub and a culinary lab, each space is thoughtfully designed to enhance the overall learning experience and community engagement.


L’École de l’Étincelle goes beyond conventional schooling, embodying a commitment to innovation and a nurturing environment for students. With a focus on sustainability, community integration, and a unique approach to learning spaces, this architectural marvel stands as a beacon of progress in education.

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