Completed in May, the Rangiora High School Rakahuri building is set to be the South Island’s newest, and largest innovative learning environment within an existing school. The new central learning building provides the equivalent of 27 classrooms in the form of open plan future-focused teaching spaces, a café/ hub, a learning terrace, innovative science facilities,wet spaces and collaborative social learning spaces. The facility, at the heart of the School, connects the existing administration precinct to the existing School hall, bringing the School community together.
The Jasmax architecture, interior design and landscape team have been involved since the inception of the project in 2013, initially working with the School on an updated masterplan. With the Rangiora area experiencing significant population growth following the Christchurch earthquakes, the School needed to cater for an increased enrolment.
Jasmax engaged with students and staff alike in a series of workshops conceptualising this project. Henry Fraser (Deputy Head Boy) even did work experience in the Jasmax studio and helped the design team understand the campus from a student perspective, as well as building a physical model of the development.
The design team engaged with local iwi and the community to develop a facility that meets the needs of the School and the local community, while also acknowledging the rich cultural history of the site.These conversations have been woven into the building form, with the entry experience designed with the input of iwi representatives and a number of classroom names,and the building name being gifted to the School by the local iwi. With the requirement for science and wet room facilities, the design team also worked alongside a University of Canterbury advisor to ensure the new spaces reflected the future of science education.
Simple and effective sustainability measures enable this building to perform well for the people occupying it. These include passive design analysis delivered using environmental modelling software at Jasmax and improved energy efficiency developed in coordination with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Floor slabs are warmed by woodchip boiler heated water; natural light and ventilation methods are used, and wherever possible low VOC and chemical content materials are used. The building is designed to enable easy reconfiguration of the interior over time to respond to changing teaching and learning needs and to remain flexible over time.
Senior Interior Designer, Melody Young has also worked alongside the School on a unique project to develop flexible furniture and AV solutions which reflect their teaching style and pedagogy.