Onehunga High School is a co-educational, multi-cultural state secondary school, which serves a wide range of ethnic, social, and economic situations. With inclusivity and diversity at its core, the school prides itself on creating meaningful learning pathways for all.
The development of the new Tech Block and Gymnasium enhances this aspiration and sets a strong precedent for the future masterplan of the school.
Ignite worked closely with the school, project managers and engineers on the complex planning and staging of the development, minimizing disruption where possible. A key goal was to ensure flexibility and connection between and within the buildings.
"This complex project has transformed the campus. The school’s active involvement in the development and enthusiasm of their pedagogy has allowed us to design spaces that truly resonate with the students.”
Ignite were appointed by the Ministry of Education to design the new Gymnasium and Tech Block. These pivotal buildings are part of a wider project scope, comprising the demolition of dilapidated buildings, outdoor landscaping, carparking and the renovation of an existing building into a satellite unit.
The project team worked closely with the school and Ministry of Education, taking them to see built examples and help ascertain the brief. Careful staging was required to accommodate the reduction of teaching spaces. The steep site offered limited physical space, with areas of unstable soil, adding to the complexity of the project.
Together, the team was able to analyse multiple iterations of building configurations, until the right cost-effective balance was struck.
Multiple faculties, once set apart, converged within the Tech Block and Gymnasium, allowing for cross-curricular engagement and use of shared teaching spaces –aligning with the school’s request for flexible timetable management. All spaces were designed with maximum natural light and passive ventilation, particularly crucial in the centre of the wide Tech Block - achieved with clerestory windows.
Finishes were chosen based on which faculty occupied the space. Technical subject rooms feature exposed ducting, services and finishes, whilst the art classrooms upstairs have skillion ceilings providing a light, airy feel, with views out to Mangere Mountain.
The food tech space was key to unlocking the heart of the school: kai. The commercial kitchens were positioned to be accessible for barista facilities and common areas during sporting and school-catered events.