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Waiheke High School Performing Arts Block

A cultural hub for Waiheke Island’s only high school

Sheltered canopies


Sheltered canopies

Reflecting the inspirations of a community

The performing arts are strongly embedded in the culture of Waiheke High School – dance, drama, music, and art reflect the special character of Waiheke’s close-knit island community. The performing arts block captures this cultural spirit and provides a multi-functional, flexible space that the community can be proud of. Key features include a small theatre/dance space, music practice rooms, art spaces, and flexible design areas. As a new landmark, the performing arts block is designed to inspire students who are pursuing a career in the creative industries.

Constructed from prefabricated materials


Constructed from prefabricated materials

Auckland, New Zealand
June 2020


sqm of performing arts space


creative subjects under one roof

Details tell a cultural story


Details tell a cultural story


To understand the highly specialist functional requirements of each space within the block, the team facilitated a robust briefing workshop with the school. Through collaboration, the team could create a truly fit-for-purpose space suitable for flexible learning.

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“This project was in a challenging location, but by working closely with all stakeholders, we created an exceptional performing arts space for the students.”

The performing arts block sits in a prominent position by the main entrance. Its large canopy extends towards the adjacent hall building, providing a central heart and covered gateway to the playing fields. The building hugs the existing contour of the slope, and the remaining portion of the eastern slope will eventually turn into an amphitheatre. The natural materials, sustainability considerations, and views overlooking Huruhi Bay reflect the school’s connection to the environment.

Due to the remote island location, there were challenges with labour availability and the transportation of materials. The design had to consider cost-effective alternatives to typical construction methods, and modular off-site prefabrication was one of the key design drivers to mitigate this challenge.

A prefabricated, insulated structural panel system was used as the primary construction system, as well as engineered roof trusses. Once the structural wall panels and roof trusses were erected, insulated roof panels were craned into place, significantly reducing the overall build time and carbon footprint.

All learning spaces are naturally ventilated and the building is warm, dry, and energy efficient. As the island does not have a mains water supply, low-flow plumbing fixtures were installed in the new block.

The high school shares its 17.3-hectare coastal cliff site with Te Huruhi Primary School. Ignite simultaneously led the full redevelopment of Te Huruhi Primary, harnessing resourcing and programming efficiencies between the two projects.


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