In 2018, the Saint Kentigern Trust Board endorsed Architectus’ masterplan to co-locate the Girls’ Primary School to the Shore Road campus, making the best use of all campuses while ensuring that students would benefit from contemporary teaching facilities. Maintaining the unique character of each of the schools was key to adhering to the Saint Kentigern ethos of single-gender primary education. As such, each school is maintained as a distinct entity with its own Principal, staff, curriculum and ethos.
Echoing this ethos, the architectural concept for each building is inspired by this character, their immediate built contexts, and their topography within the Shore Road campus.
Forming a new edge to the main campus cluster of buildings, and bordering the main playing field, the new Macky Senior School & Specialist Facilities Building expresses the formal organisation and rigour of the existing buildings and shares their predominant use of brick. A recessed ground floor to the field’s edge, creates a continuous colonnade to the eastern and northern edge. Concrete bleacher seating bridges the height difference between this ground floor level and the field becoming a full-length grandstand for spectators during sporting events. The central bay windows express the internal programme which is vertically divided into two parts – Senior Boys’ teaching facilities to the north and shared Specialist Facilities to the south.
The general teaching facility consists of two-levels of spacious, technology-rich, flexible teaching and learning spaces. The new Year 8 classrooms are located on the upper floor, accessed by a wide atrium staircase that doubles as access between floors and as an auditorium for teaching, group gatherings or class presentations. The atrium acts as a focal point for surrounding classrooms and open breakout spaces, bringing light down from clerestory windows. The Year 7 classrooms are located on the first level with access from the school side of the building, and the ground level accommodates a spacious staffroom facing over the field. The new classrooms cater for greater specialisation and the transition between primary and secondary to prepare the boys for the next phase of their learning journey.
The Specialist Facilities is available to both Schools but timetabled for separate use. Designed to foster creativity and innovation, the centre provides for a wide range of curricular and co-curricular activities including science, arts, music, visual and performance and technology (food, hard and soft material). Each floor has breakout and presentation spaces away from the classrooms. A separate entrance for the girls is accessed via a covered walkway from the new Girls’ Primary School.
Located on the opposite side of the playing field, the new Girls’ Primary School sits adjacent the Architectus-designed Jubilee Sports Centre on a steeply sloping site. Organised as a series of offset levels that step down the site, the building employs recessive materiality and an undulating form creating a building that ties into the landscape.
A prominent site along Shore Road provides a strong sense of identity, presence and arrival from the street for the Girls’ Primary School while supporting a degree of separation, independence and security within the overall campus.
The building takes its cue from both local and international innovative learning spaces but maintains the connectedness valued so highly at the former Remuera Road Campus.
The new facility accommodates front of house facilities, school administrative offices, meeting rooms and basement carparking at the lower levels.
The Junior, Middle and Senior school syndicates occupy their own dedicated levels with their own unique outdoor social spaces.
The primary organising element of the new Girls’ School is an atrium with the multi-use social stair providing physical, visual, and social connections across the three syndicate levels. Orientated around this ‘heart’ are breakout spaces paired with the Learning Commons.
Principal of the Girls’ School Ms Juliet Small commented that, “Over four years ago we brought together our girls, staff and community to feedback and ideate the school of our dreams and explore the very best for the learning of our girls now and for the future. Our girls envisioned their school to be a place where they can be themselves and feel comfortable in the environment. Key themes that were proposed and are now reflected in the new design include the outdoor learning opportunities for girls, a strong identity for the Girls’ School, unique play areas for the younger girls, as well as appropriate places for senior girls.”
These facilities were opened mid-2022.