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Kakapo Creek is an early learning centre for up to 100 children in the heart of Mairangi Bay and is founded on the idea of Nga Hau E Wha, the four winds, being symbolic as a meeting place for people from all backgrounds. This idea is embodied in the design of the building, forming it into a circular shape to create a central meeting space, with four main classrooms arranged around it. The shape of the curve was derived from the shape of the stream which forms the site boundary on the northern side of the building and helps root the building in its place.
Further ideas of connection and meeting were explored throughout the design - the four classrooms are fully glazed onto the courtyard which then allows connection between inside and out, and between the rooms themselves. This elegantly simple design is topped off by a timber glulam / ply roof canopy and green roof, further unifying the spaces beneath, and blending the building into its natural environment.
Client: Kaenan Trust
Location: Mairangi Bay, Auckland, New Zealand
Construction cost: Confidential
Programme: Completed 2021
Project Team: Phil Smith, Akash Kumar
Construction: Meridian Construction
Engineer: Markplan Consulting
Landscaper: Dave Cowen
Interiors: Meridian Construction
Materials: Techlam, APL Windows Solution, Plytech, Zone Architectural
Image Credit: Mark Scowen
Smith Architects is an award-winning international architectural practice creating beautiful human spaces that are unique, innovative and sustainable through creativity, refinement, and care.
Phil and Tiffany Smith established the practice in 2007. We have spent more than two decades striving to understand what makes some buildings more attractive than others, in the anticipation that it can help us design better buildings.
Recent advances in neuroscience and psychology have enabled scientists to unlock some of the reasons why we find certain works of art, objects and environments more attractive than others, and at the heart of it is simple Darwinian theory: if we find something attractive we will be more likely to choose that thing over another – be it a painting, a piece of music, a landscape or even a building.
At Smith Architects, we use these learning to inform our designs, striving to create beauty in everything we do, in the belief that beautiful spaces create better environments for human beings or ‘beautiful human spaces’.
We carefully integrates architectural, landscape, interior and furniture design skills to ensure projects achieve an holistic integrity that meets our client’s needs. At the core of our design rigour, we believe that modern, sustainable, research-based design delivers a successful project with innovative solutions that work for our clients.
Our Auckland, New Plymouth, and Arrowtown offices design and deliver projects ranging from refurbishments to new-builds; from domestic scale to urban master plans; from conception to completion. Our experience covers a broad range of typologies – masterplans, mixed-use schemes, residential; offices; cultural; educational; healthcare and childcare.
We work with a diverse client base, including developers, private, government and charities and have experience of working with multiple stakeholders on challenging sites around the world.
We are a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), Site Safe New Zealand, and the Sustainability Business Network.