Case Study: Takapuna Grammar School

February 5, 2020

Takapuna Grammar School’s Main Block is a Category A heritage building and a landmark held dear by the school and wider community.


Client: Ministry of Education
Location: Takapuna, Auckland
Services Provided: Heritage Design, Structural & Seismic Engineering, Fire Engineering, Building Surveying


The Job

Prendos and Respond Architects were engaged to remediate and restore this striking brick building, with the purpose of solving its weathertightness, durability and structural issues while maintaining and upholding its heritage aspects.

Our Solution

An extremely complex project both from a design and structural perspective, major remedial works were required to rectify the issues. Prendos and Respond Architects pulled together a multi-disciplinary team – including designers, building surveyors, structural, seismic and fire engineers.

Strengthening work was carried out to increase the building’s seismic capacity. This was done in conjunction with structural remediation and alterations for the proposed upgrading of the building – all while maintaining and restoring its heritage features. At the same time, we completed a major internal refurbishment of the Main Block, including reconfiguration of internal layouts to form new ILEs (Innovative Learning Environments). The project also involved a full re-design and interior design of the internal teaching and administration spaces.

The Outcome

The block previously had a traditional layout, with classrooms opening off a corridor. We created a more open plan layout with opportunities for break out space for both small and large groups, and the potential to open up teaching spaces to form larger spaces for exams, lectures and group activities. Corridors were absorbed into the learning area to create informal breakout seating and work bench areas. A combination of operable walls and glazed partitions and screens allow spaces to be used separately while still providing line-of sight connections between teachers and students.

Lighting design was maximised to reduce energy costs going forward and sustainable materials such as carpet tiles and insulation partially made from recyclable materials were introduced. The building has been re-designed as a largely naturally ventilated building, using solar control glass, opening windows with cross ventilation and passive relief ducting to limit energy costs in cooling.

In addition, the internal refurbishment of the School Hall sees it open up to a new tiered exterior landscaped area forming the heart of the school.

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