Client: Dioscean School for Girls

Project category: Education

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Status: Completed 2009


Excellence Award in the Education & Arts category of the NZ Property Industry Awards, 2010

The New Zealand Institute of Architects Public Architecture winner of 2010

Winner Commercial Engineering Excellence NZ Wood Timber Design Awards 2009

Diocesan School for Girls is a compact inner urban but very picturesque campus in Epsom, New Zealand. Directly facing the School’s Heritage listed, Administration Building, the new Aquatic Centre provides a modern and minimal counterpoint.


The Centre incorporates a 20 x 25m pool, 400 seat spectator gallery, a separate learning pool and a Fitness Centre.  A variable depth floor can be lowered for deep water sports codes such as Water Polo or raised for Learn to Swim classes.


The design features a full-height glazed wall and colonnade facing the School House lawn and high level glazing to the west creating maximum transparency through the main pool concourse. The colonnade forms a strong edge to the grass open space whilst setting up a dialogue with the two-storey verandah of the original Italianate School House located directly opposite.


The roof structure, which spans 26 metres in both directions, is a timber solution using a series of plywood and LVL box beams with post-tensioning steel cables. This innovation allows the timber beams to span the pool at a significantly reduced depth and the resultant timber finish provide visual warmth and softness to the interior and offer huge savings in embodied energy when compared to a steel structure.