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masterclass in colour

Freemans Bay School

The cladding panels are painted in rich and vibrant colours to represent the diverse cultural community.

Freemans Bay School is situated along Wellington Street and Hepburn Street, in one of Auckland’s earliest settled areas, surrounded by various building types, predominantly known for its 1960s and 1970s flats and townhouses, and Victorian heritage houses.

Freemans Bay  School - exterior front

The site contained existing 1960s school buildings, playing fields, and car parking facilities. To make way for the new development, all existing buildings apart from one were removed.

The vision was to create a fresh new centre of modern learning that looks to the future, encourages close ties with the community, and embraces the evolving local culture, history and landscape.

The new multipurpose hall and administration building now front Wellington Street, and are connected with an entrance canopy that provides an inviting/welcoming entrance into the school, and functions as a substantial outdoor teaching space and covered play area. The form of the canopy references both traditional Maori forms, as well as typical colonial residential roof forms. All buildings open onto a new central courtyard, encouraging social interaction, and outdoor learning.

Freemans Bay School - orange exterior

Advanced ‘innovative learning environments’ (80-90 pupils per classroom in open plan learning spaces) are provided for with a variety of well-connected learning spaces through the use of new building materials and technologies, along with flexible teaching spaces.

The cladding panels are painted in rich and vibrant colours to represent the diverse cultural community, and the children’s different ethnic backgrounds, using Resene X-200 weatherproofing membrane. The grouping of colours references Maori culture with a multi-cultural identity within.

Freemans Bay School - blue exterior

Inside the base colour is Resene Black White (grey white) with various accents drawn from the exterior colour palette.

The Resene paint colours selected were exactly what the school was after and there has been a flood of positive feedback from visitors and from community members on how striking the colours are.

It is always challenging to create cutting edge architecture with limited budgets, and material restrictions. On this project RTA Studio used the colour scheme to represent the school’s identity, but also to enhance the architecture. Colour was a cost effective way to bring this project to life.

This project won the Resene Total Colour Nightingale Award and the Resene Total Colour Education Primary Award. The judges said “embracing the site, the design, the community and its colour palette, this project demonstrates a commanding mastery of colour. Strong like a meeting house, the colour is both anchoring and welcoming and used with such care. Appealing to young and old, the palette brings this school into the central heart of the community.

Architectural specifier: RTA Studio
Building/painting contractor: Watts & Hughes Construction
Client: Ministry of Education
Other key contributor: Octa Project Management
Photographer: Simon Devitt
Winner: Resene Total Colour Nightingale Award and Resene Total Colour Education Primary Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2018
From the Resene News – issue 4/2018

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2018


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