McKenzie Higham Architects was engaged to create a new purpose-built preschool for Queen Margaret College that both acknowledged its historical setting and delivered a contemporary, practical, engaging child-friendly environment.
A Category 2 historical Tower building constructed in 1876 sits at the heart of the College, representing the school’s longevity and its heritage. More recent additions demonstrate a commitment to providing quality built environments. The new preschool had to meet both of these criteria and had to sit comfortably in the College’s quiet suburban location.
The preschool’s exterior design is deliberately residential in form, while the gabled ends reference surrounding character buildings within the College and the immediate residential area. Care was taken in retaining established trees which are a feature of the college and the surrounding streets.
The carefully crafted interior, with exposed trusses and timber panelling, reflects a heritage style seen elsewhere in the school while conveying a contemporary finish and aesthetic. Interior spaces are bright and airy with acoustic performance given particular consideration. The kitchen is the heart of the facility. Staff workspaces, offices and support facilities are visible, clearly located and easily accessed, providing robust but comfortable and pleasant facilities.
The multi-use kids’ space interior has carpet tiles inspired by the College’s established colour scheme – these flow through to sheltered exterior play spaces with safety matting in a related palette, creating a strong sense of connection between indoors and out.
The new preschool facility ticks all the boxes of its brief – it houses 40 children and staff in a bright welcoming setting, its multi-use spaces provide the College with the quality amenity they required and the building enhances the College streetscape and that of the wider residential environment.
Project Location - Thorndon, Wellington, NZ