Tarawera High School wins top honours at 2016 Colour Awards

By Online News

Auckland architects RTA Studio who designed Tarawera High School in Kawerau took out the Nightingale Award at the Resene Total Colour Awards 2016.

RTA Studio founder Richard Naish explains his entry was the “turning of a new page” for Kawerau College and Kawerau Intermediate when a decision was made to amalgamate the two schools into one. 

The new school, Tarawera High School, features three houses that both separate and link the flexible spaces. Acknowledging the cultural importance of a 90% Māori roll, colours in the new school buildings bring together four key elements of the area’s history, culture and natural environment; the mountain and forest, the river, the coast and the land.

Naish says, “The central Wharenui faces directly north where the Tarawera River meets the coast.”

He says the large verandas bring learning, performance, sport and social interaction outside and the overall design fits The Ministry of Education’s current model of Advanced Modern Learning.

Judges describe the winning Tarawera High School entry as “Playful without being predictable; cheeky pops of colour work in seamlessly with natural materials. The colour of each building has helped create a personality for each. The colour is applied in different ways to each building so that each truly has its own identity within the whole.”

Nick Nightingale, Resene Managing Director says, “It’s always a privilege to see how architecture and design professionals create new combinations of Resene colours each year, bringing out the best in their projects. With a clever and adventurous use of colour in so many projects, the judges had a difficult task narrowing down the entries to just a few winners.”   

Tarawera High School opened its new facilities in January this year after they received $15.6 million to redevelop the school which caters for more than 500 students.

Education Minister Hekia Parata opened the facilities comprising 33 new teaching spaces, a performing arts theatre and a hospitality suite.

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