Wilson School
Project Description Wilson School Project info Design and Project Architect: Eqo Leung BArch(Hons), BAS, ANZIA, Partner - Opus Architecture Client: Ministry of Education Project Team: Opus International Consultants (Civil Structural, M&E services Engineering) Floor Area: 1618sqm Project Cost: NZ$ 7million Awards NZIA New Zealand Architecture Medal 2009 NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award (Public Architecture) 2009 NZIA Auckland Architecture Award (Public Buildings) 2008 Background Wilson School is the first purpose-built Special Needs School in New Zealand, providing educational care for children with severe mental and physical disability. The school is located a tranquil and serene site in a well established park-like setting. Concept The building connects quietly to the landscape, indulging in the calm, tranquil and serene essence of it. It expresses a close relationship to nature without overwhelming it. The building with its simple form in timber and glass, lies subservient to and beneath the surrounding trees and landscaping, and is therapeutic and calming for the users. There is a strong notion of ‘support’ as a key idea for the form of the building. This idea is expressed through the dialogue between the 2 key forms. The amazing ‘support system’ that the staff provide, was seen as the inspiration behind the building. The building stands, like a monument, as a tribute to the value of their work and contribution to the community, and also to the challenges faced by the students who attend this school. By expressing the aesthetics and function through simple form, layout and material palette, the new school enjoys a building which expresses quality and substance achieved on a relatively modest budget. Site Arrangement and Building Layout The 2-level building is arranged to open out to the north. This optimises the natural lighting and captures the forested vista to the north while being protected from the prevailing wind and traffic noise from the south. The key focus in designing the spatial layout is to create clear and simple circulation. As part of the overall spatial experience, there is a strong visual connection to the outside at all times- an intimate link between the interior and the exterior. The two key zones - the public/activities zone surrounding a north-facing, sheltered courtyard and the classroom zone with play area opening out to the north are well defined both externally and internally. Environmental performance The building is designed to make the most of natural lighting and ventilation. This in turn creates a sustainable and more enjoyable environment for the building users. The project received full ESD funding with features including: • Natural cross ventilation through the whole building. • Deep verandah spaces on the North side to control and limit solar gain in summer while allowing a useful amount of solar penetration and warmth in winter. • The use of natural lighting is maximised and where appropriate, solar glazing is used to minimise unwanted heatgain. • Timber from sustainable source. • Occupancy sensor lighting control. New Zealand Architecture Medal Citation : A building which seeks to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children deserves the best possible architecture. The Wilson School, New Zealand’s first purpose built Special Needs School, is a sophisticated assembly of timber clad boxes set among the mature trees of its well established site. Children arrive by car and enter a world which is theirs by right, not by compromise. From the lofty, generous space which serves as foyer, hall and gymnasium to the intimate classrooms, the all important pragmatic requirements of wide pathways, hardwearing materials, and ample storage are cleverly integrated. They reinforce the nurturing quality of the school environment. Recessed openings and tinted glazing ensure privacy while providing the occupants with views of the garden, the chapel and the city beyond. An unwavering focus on the wellbeing of the pupils and staff and a genuine spirit of collaboration have allowed architect and client to create an extraordinary building, full of hope. It makes for architecture at its finest. New Zealand Architecture Award Category : Public Architecture Citation : This is New Zealand's first purpose built Special Needs School and its purpose is to provide educational care for children with severe mental and physical disability. The spaces throughout the school not only have the generosity required for this type of teaching but have a generosity of spirit that makes them uplifting to be in. This is reinforced by the delicate palette of natural materials used and the strong connections created with the park like setting. The architects and their client have combined talents to create an environment dedicated to serving the needs of others in a manner that is thoughtful, respectful and delightful. This building and the manner in which it has been created should serve as a benchmark for all future facilities of this type. NZIA Auckland Architecture Award Category : Public Architecture Citation : A new building specifically designed to provide an uplifting and caring environment for both teachers and children. The architects have paid close attention to the requirements of the staff and pupils and have recognised the opportunities presented by the beautiful site. The building is thoughtful, attentive, imaginative and generous and succeeds at every level.

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    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com