- Architect In Charge : Phil Smith
- Design Team : Phil Smith, Graham Collingridge, Grayson Wanda, Chloe Pratt
- City : Papamoa
- Country : New Zealand
A very tight programme saw the Children’s centre designed, approved and completed in 9 months.The building is located on the edge of the Papamoa Beach township and our brief was to create a design that captured the nostalgic kiwi bach (holiday house) feel.
Referencing the elegant refined style of the LA case study houses and New Zealand’s own Group Architects, our concept reduces the functions of an early childhood centre into two simple ‘solid’ volumes, supporting a beautifully thin cantilevered roof. The classrooms are defined below the roof by sliding glazed screens allowing full indoor / outdoor flow to the north facing playground. All service and admin spaces are located in the ‘solid’ boxes, which define the circulation and entry to the centre.
Through our passion for ‘complete’ design, the client was convinced to let us design and select all furniture, appliances, fittings, art work and landscaping leading to a fully cohesive architectural finish.
Environmentally the building works very efficiently, making the most of passive solar gain in winter conditions through the low-e north facing glazing, whilst the large cantilevered roof overhang stops overheating from the high summer sun. The rear of the centre (south side) has limited openings and is highly insulated to limit heat loss.
Ventilation is achieved naturally at 6x building code minimum via the large sliding glazed panels in the classrooms, whilst the admin spaces are all naturally ventilated through smaller openable windows.
Blackwater is treated on site and irrigates a large native planted area at the rear of each building, which acts as the nursery for planting throughout the playground. Rainwater is captured from the roof and used to flush all wc’s and irrigate the playground, whilst high WELS rated water appliances are used throughout the centre to limit water use (taps are 6 star, wc’s 5 star).
Children are taught about reducing their environmental impacts through these features of the building and their everyday practical application of them, as well as gaining a wider environmental awareness through the large natural playground, where they are surrounded by native plants, grasses and animals.