From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries
The original main block consisted of a two storey central building with single storey wings on either side. It connected to the auditorium, the music block and the library. The primary facilities included administration staff and the principal’s office in the north wing, and classrooms in the south wing. The second storey contained classrooms.
The original main block was assessed for seismic stability, as a precaution after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, and was deemed unsound. The school subsequently relocated existing staff and facilities and closed off the main block. The auditorium and music block remained functional during the demolition of the existing main building and the construction of the new building.
The new design reinstates the main building as the school centrepiece, Te Manawa o te Kura, while incorporating two highly valued historic elements, the original 1927 brick entry, and the original stairs leading to the auditorium with the Honours Board above. The project provides 1000 square metres of new floor area, which accommodates the school’s administration staff and two new learning studios that provide an innovative learning environment capable of evolving and adapting to future educational practices.
At the centre of the design is a new rectangular building with rising pitched roof, orientated to positively splice together the north and south campus elements. The primary structure for the new building is exposed clear finished laminated veneer lumber (LVL) portal frames, set at regular intervals along the length of the building.
The polycarbonate cladding was selected to give a contemporary, lightweight, semi-translucent quality. Picking up on the historic use of brick throughout the school, the new buildings are grounded with a brick plinth relating directly to the historic main brick entry building. The main entrance is crowned with a new copper parapet to ensure the existing building provides a fitting address for Marsden School.
Te Manawa o te Kura houses the south learning studio and a double height main entry foyer with a mezzanine level accommodating the Principal’s office. Linking the new main building to the existing auditorium are the refurbished historic stairs with the Honours Board reinstated in its original location.
The enclosing wall to the south of this element includes a translucent glass artwork window celebrating the spatial connection between the new Main Building and Auditorium. Connecting Te Manawa o te Kura to the existing library is the new single storey North Learning Studio, and completing the project is a new generous south entry foyer that repairs the link between the new heart of the school and the science and intermediate blocks.
Te Manawa o te Kura is conceived as a contemporary abstracted natural landscape inspired by Samuel Marsden Collegiate's established and lush garden setting. The learning activities and students are the focus of the studio spaces. Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) structural portal frames are celebrated within the interiors and enriched with the addition of built in perimeter plywood seating and benches along the glazed eastern edge.
The applied surface linings and finishes are monochromatic in colour, yet rich in texture and patterning to enhance the movement through these spaces. Coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Wan White and Resene Nero are alternately applied to walls between the portal LVL frames to accentuate the building’s structural rhythm.
Resene Wan White is also continued onto the ceiling. The interiors also include Resene Double Fossil and Resene Nero. Exposed steel is finished in Resene Armourcote 608 in Resene Sea Fog, LVL portals in Resene Aquaclear waterborne polyurethane and timber handrails in Resene Qristal Clear solventborne polyurethane. Neutral tones are also used on the exterior with Resene Bokara Grey CoolColour, Resene Mondo CoolColour, Resene Eighth Fossil and Resene Alabaster. Steelwork is finished in Resene Uracryl 403, Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne paint and Resene X-200 low sheen weathertight membrane.
Feature colour is introduced to the studio spaces through the soft furnishings. Vibrant blues and crimsons reference the hydrangea flower and complement the green hue of the students’ uniform. This flower reflects Marsden's identity, history, the school’s character, its colonial traditions, and connection to the site. An abstracted hydrangea motif design is incorporated into the carpet construction. In this application, colour and pattern are used to define and celebrate heritage elements and connect to the new modern learning building.
A stained glass artwork flanks the Honours Board landing, as a subtle nod to the school’s Anglican heritage, complementing the custom carpet and adding to the rich tapestry of colour.
Architectural specifier: Athfield Architects Limited
Building contractor: Hawkins Construction
Client: The Samuel Marsden Collegiate School Trust Board
Interior designer: Athfield Architects Limited
Painting contractor: Vietcom Painting Limited
Photographer: Jason Mann
Other key contributor – foyer carpet: Dilana Workshop
Other key contributor – foyer stained glass: Pukerua Glass Studio
Other key Contributor - mechanical, electrical, plumbing and drainage: COR Associates
Other key contributor – Project manager: The Building Intelligence Group
Other key contributor – Structural engineer: Dunning Thornton Consultants