The Board of Trustees (BoT), Principal and Ministry of Education (MoE) wanted to create a building that would welcome people to the school, engage with the wider community and get students, staff and the community alike, excited about Clayton Park School.
The existing hall and administration blocks were to be replaced by a single building, housing both functions. This was located on the site of the existing hall, to the northern boundary of the site, with great access from the street (visually and physically) and an outlook over the nearby ponds and the schools playing fields. The BoT and Principal wanted a fresh facility, which gave the community a sense of pride in their local school.
The northern end of the building, nearest the main entry, houses the administration functions at the school including the staff area and a mezzanine space for holding student council, staff and Board of Trustee meetings, with a wonderful outlook, framed by a Pohutukawa tree and the building’s distinctive portico opening. The shape of the building takes its inspiration from traditional Maori architecture, a key design theme discussed by the design team to generate a sense of belonging, both on the site and within the community.
The southern end of the building houses the hall, which is used for a variety of school activities from performances to assemblies to indoor sport. The key feature here is a viewing deck from the mezzanine level, which allows lights and cameras to be set up for special events, sound to be controlled away from the excited crowds and great viewing opportunities for indoor football. The hall also opens up to decks on both sides finished in Resene Natural stain. To the west, the deck overlooks the playing fields and to the east, the deck provides great access to the rest of the school. The ability to open up the hall space to the east, provides wonderful opportunities for events to take place both inside and outside the hall at the same time.
The colours are intended to bring playfulness into the design and engage with the students, staff and community, so they are excited about the events held within and around the building and excited about the school itself. The fun and lively Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne paint in Resene Lucky Break within the portico viewed from the street, with the contrasting charcoal profiled metal, makes the building leap out at visitors to the school. This is particularly striking when the Pohutukawa tree out the front is in full bloom.
There was also a consideration for the way that children identify spaces, thus colours that could in time become landmarks were used. These will be named informally by the children, creating an ongoing engagement with the building even during normal school activities. This provides a method of wayfinding for both children and adults.
Teachers could meet students at the purple wall in the foyer (Resene Pukeko) before heading off to camp or at the green wall (Resene Lucky Break) before cross country practice on the fields. Students could arrange on their own to meet at the orange wall (Resene Clockwork Orange) before going to the tuckshop.
The charcoal coloured profiled metal externally and the Resene Double Alabaster internally were required to ensure that the palette of secondary colours selected for the project would pop, the contrast emphasising the vibrancy of the colours themselves and the activities in the spaces.
Resene Lucky Break
Resene Clockwork Orange
Resene Double Alabaster
Architectural specifier: Stephenson&Turner
Building contractor: Teak Construction
Client: Ministry of Education
Photographer: Paul McCredie
Project manager: Todd Jones, Greenstone Group
Principal: Paul Wright, Clayton Park School
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