Te Huruhi Primary School has a strong connection to the island community, its natural environment, and flexibility – and this is evident in the new campus. The four single-storey blocks are arranged in a horse-shoe shape around a large central courtyard. Not only does this enhance a sense of community, but it provides a direct physical and visual connection to the outdoors. The learning spaces have access to all-weather outdoor learning areas and enjoy generous amounts of daylight, while a variety of hubs cater to independent and collaborative learning styles.
The design team worked closely with the school to understand their shifting pedagogy and create a teaching environment that responded to it. Navigating the various needs of the stakeholders required innovative design solutions.
“The design fully supports the school’s decision to move away from traditional cellular teaching and embrace a new learning pedagogy in a modern, open environment.”
The full campus redevelopment saw the construction of four new blocks with 22 teaching spaces, an administration area, and library. These new buildings were built on the school’s existing sports field, allowing the school to continue operating during construction.
The design harnesses the school’s cliff-edge location and reflects the island’s strong connection to the outdoors. A generous 2.5-metre-wide veranda faces the central courtyard and links each building hub. It provides all-weather connection from the main entry and doubles as an outdoor learning area. The buildings are located as close to the cliff edge as possible to maximise the views across the Hauraki Gulf. Their simple form and materiality allow them to assimilate with the natural surroundings.
Due to the remote island location, the transportation of materials and labour availability were key challenges. Ignite developed a series of standard learning hub modules and a panelised system. The contractor adopted standard pre-nailed wall panels and roof trusses that were fabricated off-site. Once the roof trusses were erected, insulated structural panels were craned into place, reducing the overall build time.
Considering the scarcity of water on the island, Ignite also specified low-flow plumbing fixtures. Currently, rainwater from two buildings is collected for irrigation, but the generous roof area futureproofs any decision to collect more in the future.
Te Huruhi Primary School shares its 17.3-hectare site with Waiheke High School. Ignite simultaneously led the delivery of the Performing Arts Block, which allowed us to harness resourcing and programming efficiencies between the two projects.