This project consisted of the interior refit to the existing Art Block at Motueka High School. The existing building, constructed circa 1960 and altered in the late 1980’s, was made up of a rabbit-warren of rooms and corridors that were dark and cluttered.
The brief was to provide a modern, light-filled and well-connected environment in which staff and students would enjoy teaching and learning in. The existing internal corridor was converted into useable teaching space to reduce the amount of unnecessary circulation, and the main entry was relocated to the northern side of the building to create a link with the outdoor area and provide a break out area in summer.
Drawing on the idea of a collective studio space, the proposed design involved opening up the separate areas to encourage a collaborative working environment. The interior of the block was stripped back to a shell and a central plywood pod was inserted into the space between two classrooms, which are linked by a shared access way. This plywood pod contains the communal areas that are used by both classes – a sink pod, darkroom, photography room, office pod and walkway leading to the computer lab and breakout space.
Existing items were salvaged and re-incorporated where possible, while new finishes and colours were chosen to highlight and delineate different areas. The main classrooms look through to the breakout spaces with bold colours to define and personalise their use. The finishes of the main classroom spaces are reflective of a gallery-like, industrial palette – white, grey, black and timber – a muted backdrop to the colourful art on display.
The Art Block has been transformed into a light and uplifting space which fosters creativity and is enjoyed by both the staff and students.