Revamp builds kids’ pride
The architects of Porirua College’s $18.5 million redevelopment have been recognised by their peers with a prestigious award.
The awards jury for the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Wellington Architecture Awards series noted that Opus Architecture has provided Porirua College with ‘‘effective, airy and lightfilled spaces that have played a significant role in transforming attendance and learning outcomes’’.
School principal Susanne Jungersen was present with Opus representatives on October 31 to accept the award and she acknowledged the success of creating a ‘‘21st century modern learning environment’’.
The redevelopment began in 2007 and was only recently completed.
Principal architect Bruce Curtain said it was always more than a ‘‘bricks and mortar’’ upgrade, with board of trustees, staff, par- ents and students involved.
‘‘We’re delighted with the award for Porirua College – both as recognition for design excellence but also as an endorsement of the fantastic new learning environment enjoyed by both the staff and students.
‘‘The students themselves have commented ‘I might do better, it’s a better school now’ [and] it is that renewed sense of pride in their school and for education achievement that will prove to be the real legacy for this redevelopment.’’
The first stage of the project was a refurbishment of an existing block. Stage two consisted of new ‘‘houses’’: learning studios, seminar spaces and staff work areas. The final phase included the refurbishment of the music, performing arts and technology blocks.
A Maori and Pasifika theme is present throughout, with weaving patterns on the walls and floors and student designs incorporated into acoustic wall panels. The glass walls are having a positive behavioural effect on students, Mr Curtain said.
Other local designs to win awards were the BRANZ redevelopment in Judgeford (Warren and Mahoney Architects) and Robinson House in Plimmerton (Novak + Middleton Architects).
Award-winning: Opus Architecture’s redevelopment of Porirua College has been celebrated with an award, presented following a peer-review process.