Albany Senior High School, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand
Exemplary design categories: comfort, cost efficiency, flexible learning settings, science laboratories, technology richHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Albany Senior High School is New Zealand’s first purpose-built state school for upper secondary education. The project featured here is the temporary school that provided accommodation while a permanent senior high school was being planned and built on a nearby site. Although this building was only a one-year stopgap, it provided the school with a facility that allowed it to deliver its educational vision and embodied its ethos and values. Central to the school’s vision was the idea of student-centred learning that could be supported and delivered by interdisciplinary teaching teams. Learning and teaching should be public activities and not be shut away in closed spaces. Teachers should be learners too, and this should be visible to the students. Teachers should be able to work in front of other members of staff, supported by, and accountable to, their colleagues. The two learning commons in the temporary school run along the length of a wide and open central concourse (or “learning street”). This core teaching space is supplemented by specially equipped rooms for science, art, technology and music. Each learning commons has space for seven or eight teachers, and can support a variety of pedagogical approaches. Furniture can be easily moved around. It is a technology-rich environment, with many workstations and wireless access for students’ laptops. All the main features of the temporary facility have been incorporated in the new permanent school, which opened in 2010. Accommodating 1500 students, this school has been built around 10 learning commons developed from the template established and tested in the temporary school.
Activity Areas: 10 learning commons (large open squares for four to five classes) which include: one very large (360 m2) teaching space, a presentation room for video watching, two small rooms for group work, a space for seven or eight teachers, a kitchen, toilets, 35 computers and wireless for students’ laptops, specially equipped rooms for art, science, technology and performing arts (the art and science are double-sized); a library; a gymnasium; and one large open-plan office for the principal, deputy principals, executive officer, and the principal’s personal assistant
Project costs: NZD 7,000,000.00
Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"