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The landscape design for Cowichan Secondary School draws inspiration from the Cowichan Watershed, bringing the spirit of water and landscape into the everyday student experience. A series of outdoor learning spaces are each themed according to a location on the Cowichan River. A rooftop patio with seating ‘docks’ and roof plantings pays homage to Cowichan Lake, providing a sunny space for students to lounge and learn. At the ground level, a landscape plaza weaves around boulders, with circular seating that provide the opportunity for groups of students to ‘tube’ down the river. Finally, the entry plaza is inspired by the Cowichan Estuary, including lush native plantings and entry walkways that allow students to ebb and flow through the space.

The landscape is not just inspirational – it also provides a very functional rainwater management system. The site is within the Somenos marsh watershed; the marsh is a culturally significant trading site and is incredibly bountiful with fish, waterfowl, and many other plant and animal species. Rain gardens located throughout the project slow, cleans and store rainwater so that high quality water is released backed towards Somenos.

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