The Living Room

Hukanui Primary School, Hukanui

As one of the first Enviroschools in New Zealand, the enviro-elective of Hukanui Primary School approached PAUA to build a new dedicated learning space. The students were intrinsically involved in the research, design decision-making and construction for this ground-breaking eco-classroom. Students learned to understand concepts like passive solar design and thermal mass, researching issues like orientation, life cycle analysis, and building performance, and selecting construction methodologies and materials.

In 2019 a unique ‘garden to table’ food preparation teaching space was constructed alongside The Living Room. The kitchen classroom provides six kitchen workstations for groups of students to prepare produce grown in the fruit and vegetable gardens adjacent.

Stage One - Completed 2009 and Stage Two - Completed 2019

NZIA Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Award 2010: Education (Stage One)

Learning Environments New Zealand Award 2020: Small Projects (Stage Two)
Read more on the LENZ award website and facebook page

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Stage One - Completed 2009

As one of the first Enviroschools in New Zealand, the enviro-elective of Hukanui Primary School approached PAUA, keen to build a new dedicated learning space that truly balanced the 'triple bottom line' of people, profit, and planet,.  The ‘Living Room’ would act as a living laboratory for students - during and beyond its construction - to understand building environments, passive heating, cooling and ventilation systems, and how to modify them to create a healthy, comfortable space.

Hukanui School's environmental elective students were intrinsically involved in the research, design decision-making and construction for this ground-breaking eco-classroom.

The PAUA team enjoyed their role ‘extension’, from designers to educators, helping the students to understand concepts like passive solar design and thermal mass, and to research issues like building orientation, life-cycle analysis, and building performance, and selecting construction methodologies and materials. 

“For a new initiative such as our eco-classroom, it was imperative that we established clear avenues of communication at a range of levels. [PAUA Architects] made this possible through their sound organisation, written communication, and by encouraging all those involved to ask questions. The genuine care for the result of our project was always evident.” 

Michelle White (Environmental Educator) and David Mossop (Former Principal)

Hukanui Primary School

Stage Two - Completed 2019

The 'Garden to Table' kitchen classroom provides students of Hukanui Primary School a learning space for preparation, cooking, and sharing of food grown by the students. The kitchen classroom complements the 'Living Room', constructed in 2009 as a dedicated space for the enviroschools elective. The kitchen classroom provides six kitchen workstations for groups of students to prepare produce grown in the fruit and vegetable gardens adjacent.

The kitchen classroom was an initiative proposed by the students and commissioned by the Board of Trustees. The students participated in both the design and construction of the kitchen classroom.

The design of the building reflects the form, proportion and materiality of the 'Living Room', appearing as a pair. The proposed site is small, constrained by sports fields to both the north and east, the 'Living Room' to the south , and gardens to the west. An existing freestanding pizza oven was incorporated in the design of the kitchen. Existing rakau ti kouka/cabbage trees were retained and will become part of perimeter gardens which will be developed in 2020. The exposed macrocarpa trusses provide for a generous interior space with colour scheme selected by the students. The resilient non-slip flooring, complete with glitter flake, appealed to the design team and children alike.

Rainwater is collected for use in the garden and kitchen waste water is disposed of on site. Louvres at both high and low levels provide for passive ventilation, assisted by mechanical extraction as required. Skylights in the south plane of the roof provide both daylight and additional ventilation.

The opening of the kitchen classroom in December 2019 marked ten years since the completion of the 'Living Room'. The opening was attended by both past and present students who opened and replaced the time capsule, which now contains memories from both 2009 and 2019.

 

The Hukanui Enviroschool centre is a commitment to a long term sustainability journey, where tamariki connect with and explore the environment. The garden forms the centre of the design, connecting to both the 'Living Room' and the 'Kitchen Classroom'. This provides opportunities for the students to further explore their learnings from the outdoor environment in a teaching space.

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