Rangi Ruru Girls' School, Christchurch, New Zealand

Revitalise school campus with environmentally sustainable design

Aurecon’s Christchurch Building Services Team were tasked with the challenge of working in a live campus environment whilst demolishing and building $80m of state of the art teaching space for client, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School.

Several of the school’s buildings suffered a significant amount of damage during the Christchurch Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. As a result the school developed a long term plan, working with Aurecon to revitalise its campus with Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) being at the forefront.

The project has been divided into four distinct stages with multiple buildings within each stage. The first stage which consists of the Science Centre, Gibson Centre (library) and General Academic Block named Mana Wahine, was completed earlier this year in May.

From the outset of stage one, the Aurecon team worked in very close collaboration with the Architect to incorporate wherever possible, passive design solutions into the buildings with the common goal of creating buildings that would live and breathe.

The outcome of their design for the Science Centre has resulted in internal comfort being controlled by the use of in-floor hydronic radiant heating, passive cooling (provided by thermal mass) and night purging.

Natural ventilation systems were designed in such a way as to allow a light breeze, tempered by the perimeter bands of exposed concrete with underfloor heating, to flow through the building, keeping the air fresh.As a result the teaching spaces experience complete silence due to the total absence of mechanical ventilation or blown air heating.

Stage one of the project was completed much to the delight of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School Principal, Julie Moor who exclaims “it’s magic”.

“The girls when they came here were so excited,” she says. “This is the future. They have got space to move. It is energising space, about socialising as well as learning.”

Stage two is currently in the design phase, and stage three is due to commence in the very near future.

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