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St Thomas of Canterbury College
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St Thomas of Canterbury College
– new classroom building


Christchurch

St Thomas of Canterbury is a state integrated Catholic school for boys from Years 7 to 13 located in Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. The new classroom building was designed to be the school’s most prominent feature and was created in response to a need to address the growing roll at this eminent institute.

Education styles have evolved into today’s desire to provide open, light and invigorating spaces that stimulate students. The use of multifunction spaces that can change and adapt to a specific class’s needs helps to provide that positive energy, while the ability to provide visibility throughout gives a feeling of space and comfort.

This new classroom building achieved those objectives with the combination of nine new classrooms with collaborating breakout spaces, staff work areas and a formal atrium. The classrooms were allocated over two levels with each floor provided with additional breakout areas and staff facilities. A large full height atrium at the front centre of the building links the floors and classrooms together by allowing inter-storey visibility that spreads colour and the feeling of activity. A secluded outdoor terrace to a classroom is a rare treat for students and has been provided to two of the first floor classrooms and enhances further the feeling of space.

The building was constructed using a steel portal system with combinations of precast concrete panel and lightweight cladding systems. The blends of these required comprehensive detailing and consideration to ensure continuity of design and a smooth aesthetic that belies the size and complexity of the building.

St Thomas of Canterbury College exterior

St Thomas of Canterbury College corridors

St Thomas of Canterbury College entryways

Designed to be the school’s most prominent building a subtle balance was required to ensure a strong presence without dominating and overwhelming. The school colours formed the base for the colour palette with accompanying subtle shades used to define the shape and form of the building. Resene X-200 weathertight membrane and Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne in Resene True Blue and Resene Half Malta are accented with Resene X-200 and Resene Uracryl 402 in Resene Well Read on the canopy surrounds and panel cross. Grey shades of Resene Rakaia, Resene Quarter Stack and Resene Stack complete the exterior.

Resene True Blue
Resene True Blue
Resene Half Malta
Resene Half Malta
Resene Well Read
Resene Well Read
Resene Rakaia
Resene Rakaia
Resene Quarter Stack
Resene Quarter Stack
Resene Stack
Resene Stack
Resene Half Silver Chalice
Resene Half Silver Chalice
Resene Half House White
Resene Half House White

Key aspects of the building were identified early in the design as requiring specific attention to lift and enhance the prominence of the building from an exterior perspective and that would lead to a relaxing intuitive feel in the interior. The extensively glazed interior is filled with passive colour that allows an open feel while still defining individual spaces, while the Maori and Polynesian influence in the school was recognised and incorporated into the design while still retaining the history and heritage of the school.

Inside greyed hues of Resene Lustacryl tinted to Resene Stack and Resene Half Silver Chalice provides contrast to Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Half House White on walls.

St Thomas of Canterbury College classrooms

St Thomas of Canterbury College exterior

Architectural specifier: Ian Krause Architects Ltd
Building contractor: Simon Construction
Photographer: Murray Irwin, Mannering & Associates Ltd

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