Whenuapai Primary School - Stephenson&Turner | ArchiPro

Whenuapai Primary School

The concept was derived from the school’s logo (characterised by four colours: green, yellow, blue and red), with the intent to communicate a simple concept, threaded throughout the design.  The aim, to create a welcoming entrance to the school, enticing a sense of pride and drawing one into the playfulness waiting beyond.

One key design developed from the onset was the idea of an ever-changing façade, playing tricks on one’s eye whilst moving around it. The tilt of the roof enhances this feature, but also gives a hint of aerodynamics; connecting it with the identity of the neighbouring airbase. To emphasis the tilt of the roof a black “eyebrow” was created to frame the slope.

The building's form took shape as a response to an initial analysis of the site, its neighbouring buildings, and the sites regulations and restrictions. By moving the location of the building to the entrance of the school and replacing the main drop-off road, S&T were able to create a more welcoming playfulness in which the school’s logo would be represented through the placement of colours on each façade of the building.

The horizontal cedar cladding has a warm undertone, drawing one in to the site. Accompanied by the crisp steel supporting lines and coloured concrete strips, an energetic rhythm is created which is lightly interrupted at certain times of the day by the shadows of rafters supporting the external transparent roofing.

Once over the threshold, a cohesive design has been realised by using a carpet pattern that reflects a similar rhythm as the external concrete strips. The slant of the roof also emphasised internally by sloping the ceiling to the same degree as the roof structure and rotating light fittings perpendicular to the roof angle. Crisp, muted colours have been chosen for the interiors.

The interiors have been planned in four quarters, again to reflect the school’s logo. Offices (Green), has passive surveillance over the tree lined courtyard in which students regularly play. The Staffroom (Yellow), opens to the north and changes hourly with the sun. Services (Blue), is placed adjacent to the school’s access road blocking out unwanted views, and Reception (Red), which has a deliberate diagonal cut to allow views in to the school, while also announcing itself as the entrance of the building, gracefully welcoming pupils with the playful tilt of its hat.

Photographer: Sacha Stejko

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