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Woodford House – Haddington Performing Arts Centre

Createus Group designed the modern purpose built performing arts centre at Woodford House in Havelock North.

The existing building consisted of a number of small ‘cell’ like rooms, as the Haddington Building was originally a staff facility and then a dormitory block. By default the building was then used to teach music.

When the school decided to enhance the building for performing arts it was decided that renovating would be too expensive and it was also at 43%NBS (IUP record) and within 10 years the minimum requirement will be 67% NBS. Earthquake strengthening the building would add further complications and costs.

Modern teaching set environments and requirements are set by MoE, students are required to meet standards with the curriculum to gain NCEA levels. To do this the teaching spaces need to be fit for the purpose.

The new building has its main function on a single level with a purpose built studio for dance and drama practical learning. The room is a total ’black’ room with sprung timber floor and high ceilings.

The music suite is used for practical music and choir rehearsal, with high ceilings for acoustic reasons. The music studio links to a music theory classroom while two additional classrooms are used as dance and / or drama theory teaching spaces. A staff break out room at the main entrance to the building, acts as an area for teachers to liaise with one another and prepare the necessary teaching plans.

The lower level has five itinerate teaching spaces. These are for individual musical instrument practice/tutoring spaces. There is a store for scenery, props and wardrobe, linked with the dance, drama and music studies.

The Lower floor has precast concrete external walls, this is to give permanence and to be sympathetic to the plastered walls of the lower floor of the main buildings. The main level exterior cladding to be flat sheet material with wide timber battens, double glazed exterior joinery with timber facings and to sympathetic with the existing main buildings, A low level flat entry roof with double posts to the main entry represent the links and canopies throughout the school.  Colours will be the same as the main buildings of the school.

The classrooms and studios face from north around to the west and will have wide eaves to prevent the rooms from overheating in the afternoon sun. Ventilation provided by low level opening window sashes on the north around to the west elevations and high level opening window sashes on the southeast elevations.