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Silverdale School is a well established school north of Auckland. It is one of the oldest schools in the region and has a long and proud history. The existing Silverdale school was situated on the south side of the busy Hibiscus Coast Highway in a predominately industrial part of the town. The relocation of the school was to a newly developing residential area soon to become “Mill Water”, and was able to give the school a fresh start and a new identity.
Our design strategy was to provide a new school that was relevant to the environment, that the school could use to encompass the 100 year history, and develop into a modern and flexible learning environment for the future.
The site planning was based on an initial environmental analysis study which displayed the strengths and weaknesses of the site and building configurations. With a strong influence on sustainable design, the building’s basic layout became a direct response to the environmental factors and conditions on site. The school master plan is to provide for 25 classrooms and appropriate infrastructure for community and roll growth of 650 children, Stage one provided 10 classrooms (300 children), administration, library, resource and multi purpose areas.
The buildings were located at the rear of the site to gain protection and shelter from the native forest and stream it backed on to, whilst maximizing the sun and the view. The use of a native tree lined avenue was designed to delineate the entry to the school, encourage the native birds, adding a sense of place to the new site. The trees mature as the school community continues to grow and develop.
The classrooms are in a two storey configuration that wrap around the rear of the school to protect the play areas from the prevailing wind and rain. The classrooms were designed to open out onto a shared verandah space, which not only extends the teaching space, while still remaining protected due to the large roof overhang, but also adds to the family and shared community culture of the school, as strong visual connections allow students and teachers to interact in the open pathways.