education

Epsom Girls Grammar - Administration

Epsom Girls Grammar - Administration

Auckland

2003

Photographer: Michael Ng

It was intended that this building would become the definitive image by which the Epsom Girls Grammar School is identified in the future, and its design began with a challenge.

ASC Architects wanted the school management to consider a new administration model. We asked why school management might not be transparent to the students so that they might model their behavior, work ethic and aspirations on how they saw their school leaders behaving.

Our challenge was taken up and became the design brief - a brief that was vigorously defended by the client whenever it was threatened during the design process.

The resultant building is effectively a large floating roof supported by thin steel columns that appear barely substantial enough to support its weight. The roof is clad on all sides in a glass skin.

The building is set in a mature landscape of trees, which tower over the roof and are so close to the skin that working in the building is more akin to being in a glass house than an office environment.

During the day, there is barely a separation between the management team working inside and students eating their lunch under the trees adjacent. At night, the interior glows like a tree lantern, bright and warm in a generous canopy of foliage.