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Bell Block School library exterior
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Bell Block School Upgrades –
Classrooms and Whare Pukapuka


Taranaki

Stage one of a larger school upgrade project, the two new classrooms and adjoining breakout room, foyer, cloakrooms and outdoor learning areas have been an instant success receiving enthusiastic reviews from students, teachers and visitors to the school.

Working within the confines of an old and tired existing interior and a limited budget we worked closely with the school to create an innovative child’s learning environment incorporating MLE design principles, sustainable design features, durability and low maintenance.

This stage included an operable wall between the teaching spaces, wet areas, gas heating, energy efficient daylight harvesting lighting, water saving devices, acoustic absorbent wall finishes, vibrant recyclable modular carpet flooring, new exterior doors and decks to outdoor learning environments.

Neutral hues of Resene Eighth Ash on general wall areas, Resene Black White on timber joinery, Resene Double Ash on interior doors and timber coat hook rails and Resene White on ceilings are joined by accents of Resene Shooting Star as features in the cloakrooms and Resene Yabbadabbadoo, Resene Neva and Resene Hi Jinx on toilet doors.

Stage Two of a larger school upgrade project, the conversion of the school’s existing Wharenui to the new Whare Pukapuka (library) acknowledges the former use and identity of the building in the handling of the exterior form and finishes.

Bell Block School library

Bell Block School library

Bell Block School library

Working with a limited budget and the school’s desire for a modern multipurpose library space, our response was to create a flexible tangible space that positively engages with the students’ senses and emotions with the use of colour, light and openness.

The existing 60 square metre footprint was increased to 100 square metres. From the front the extension is masked by a strong screen of vertical cedar slats providing a continuation of the existing vertical elements, while shading windows behind.

Resene Eighth Ash
Resene Eighth Ash
Resene Black White
Resene Black White
Resene Double Ash
Resene Double Ash
Resene White
Resene White
Resene Shooting Star
Resene Shooting Star
Resene Yabbadabbadoo
Resene Yabbadabbadoo
Resene Neva
Resene Neva
Resene Hi Jinx
Resene Hi Jinx
Resene Dynamite
Resene Dynamite
Resene Nutmeg
Resene Nutmeg
Resene Ash
Resene Ash
 

Over time native planting planned in front of the extension will further enhance this area and direct visitor focus to the entry doors.

The interior is open plan with the original exposed trusses and a skillion ceiling enhancing the interior volume.

The Whare Pukapuka exterior walls were painted in Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne paint matched to the existing colour, with Resene Dynamite on existing front posts and providing the whare red. Resene Waterborne Woodsman CoolColour in Resene Nutmeg dresses the cedar slats. Moving inside the paint colour palette softens to neutral tones of Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Black White, Resene Ash and Resene Ceiling White.

Vertiface Composition wall finishes provide blocks of colour and an acoustic absorbent canvas for displaying students’ art work, and recyclable modular carpet flooring installed in a tukutuku panel arrangement is modern and playful providing further reference to the building’s former use.

Bell Block School is a primary school catering for year 0-8 students from a community of diverse ethnicities. Research has shown that spaces that feel pleasant, radiating warmth and softness and where colours and forms are well coordinated, will have a strong positive effect. Colours in schools should be friendly and inviting, not uncomfortable or even intimidating.

Consideration of the functionality, sustainability, durability and ongoing maintenance are important in school design.

Bell Block School showing room divider

Bell Block School Upgraded classrooms

Architectural specifier: Chapman Oulsnam Speirs Ltd
Building contractor: Arthur Brown Construction Ltd
Client: Bell Block School Board of Trustees
Painting contractor: DR Jack Gray
Photographer: Chapman Oulsnam Speirs Ltd

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