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'Enviro' Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown by Babbage Architects

Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown, New Zealand designed by Babbage Architects is am example of a radical (futuristic) design for a New Zealand school, which includes 24 classrooms to accommodate 560 pupils - plus an early-learning centre for a further 30 pre-schoolers.

The design was based on the principles of architect Prakesh Nair. It is his research and work that has led to the school having spaces for waterholes (meeting places for students), campfires (where adults share wisdom with the young) and caves (private and secure places) for children and adults.

The school's establishment board had a strong vision for a modern approach to teaching and the values of the school - as a welcoming, caring and inclusive environment, serving the needs of the community.

An adaptable environment was required that would meet current and future pedagogical needs. With a stunning setting between Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range, Babbage wanted an architectural form that responded to and was fully integrated with the landscape.

As a response to the site conditions, the buildings have been arranged as a wind break around the play and external teaching areas - the social heart of the school - to enable comfortable year round use.

The natural contours of the site have been used to create an outside auditorium/performance space, embraced by the buildings, which appear to be emerging from the surrounding landscape, enhanced by the natural tones of the materials used.

The site is approximately half the size of a typical NZ primary school so the need to utilise the space to the best of its potential was paramount. This led to a landscaped roof enabling the children further outdoor and learning and playing space.

Remarkables Primary is one of a handful of schools throughout the world who can boast a green roof, which exhibits turfed and boardwalk areas.

Built in two phases, the roof is made up of a wide variety of sedum and succulent plants manually planted into the growing medium by GreenRoofs Ltd.

The plants which were chosen for their hardiness to survive the cold will turn into different colours throughout the year.


  1. Wow! What an amazing school. It just goes to show that with a little fore thought and planning that something beautiful can be created that fulfills all of the requirements for a school.

  2. Cath @ Spirits HighMay 24, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    With such clear values and intention behind this community educational hub - it is sure to attract likeminded staff and families to enhance it's vision and further it's cause.
    Awesome stuff!



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