The Reading Recovery Centre at Te Aro School is a base for teaching reading recovery throughout the Wellington region.
Reading Recovery New Zealand is a national organisation that aims to prevent literacy difficulties at an early stage before they begin to affect a child's educational progress.
The facility contains a seminar room where teachers can observe students being taught reading recovery techniques. There is the teaching room for the student, their tutor, a waiting area and office space for staff.
This was a Ministry of Education Innovation Project that sought to find better methods to provide bespoke small buildings to schools. Working with Spanbild Projects, using concision panelised prefabricated construction technology, proved that quality new school buildings can be delivered quickly and economically.
With the piles in place, the panels that made up the floor, walls and roof were erected in one day. With building enclosed and protected from the elements, the exterior and interior could be finished off at the same time.
To allow for quick and efficient construction the design of the building needed to be simple. The design looks to make a feature of this simplicity, with the colour scheme playing a vital role in elevating the project.
There were three reasons for choosing a neutral palette for the Reading Recovery Centre:
While the centre is hosted by the school, it not part of the school. It is instead a regional educational facility. The building needed to have a quiet presence on the campus.
The natural environment that frames the building, from the trees behind to the rain garden at its base. Choosing a neutral palette emphasises this backdrop rather than competes with it.
Research has found that distracting environments can increase the cognitive load on learners. Creating a calm, quiet in the colour sense, low stimulus zone was especially appropriate for a Reading Recovery Centre where students are in an unusual learning environment and the teachers observing the learning are in another room on the other side of one-way glass.
The exterior is a study in contrasts. The rear and side of the building are clad in dark textured Grey Flannel corrugated profiled metal. This is contrasted with fire cement cladding in the veranda painted in Resene Lumbersider in Resene Double Merino. The deck of the veranda is Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path in Resene Double Gravel.
Large 190mm oversized cover boards play on the traditional timber construction of surrounding inner-city villas and the school’s original main block and reduces the building’s scale. Resene Ironsand colour is used for fascias, corner cover boards and veranda posts to define the form of the building while the window cover boards and fibre cement cladding battens use lighter Resene Truffle.
Colours are perceived differently depending on the other colours that they are put next to. Resene Truffle used for the window cover boards appears light on the sides and rear where it is contrasted against the dark profile metal cladding, while it appears darker in the veranda against the light painted fibre cement cladding.
Architectural specifier: Robertson Architecture Design
Building contractor: Naylor Love
Client: Ministry of Education
Painting contractor: First Choice Decorators
Photographer: Paul McCredie
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2019
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