“We have been transforming education for some time,” says Samuel Marsden Collegiate School Principal Jenny Williams – and now the Wellington school has a brand new building structure at its heart to perfectly reflect its transformative nature.
A requirement to seismically strengthen the main block at the centre of the Karori Marsden school created an opportunity for innovation. What was previously a two-storey stone masonry building built in 1926 has been replaced with a pioneering learning facility encompassing an administration staff area, Learning Studios and an iCentre capable of leading the school well into the future. Aptly named Te Manawa o te Kura (the heart of the school) this new learning hub represents and reflects the Marsden community.
The project was complex due to the challenge of joining together four existing structures into the new build and the school’s desire to incorporate some of the key historic elements of the original building whilst creating a modern, open and contemporary learning facility.
The Building Intelligence Group was appointed to facilitate a smooth project and a collaborative project team came together to interpret Marsden’s vision. Long standing Marsden collaborators Athfield Architects were charged with seamlessly blending the modern with the traditional.
Multiple learning spaces, including a library and technology fusion ‘iCentre’, group work spaces, and reflection and project work areas make the building feel more like a modern tech workplace – light, warm, contemporary and inviting – while still retaining the personality and individuality of the school.
The result is elegant yet edgy says Jenny Williams. “The girls say they work better in the new spaces. It’s beautiful, it makes them feel more creative and it’s uplifting.”
“The Building Intelligence Group and the whole project team came on a journey with us. We could not have got there without the team of people we used. You can have ideas, but you need good people to put them into action.”