Ten years after the Christchurch earthquakes Te Raekura Redcliffs School in Sumner has reopened with a bold and innovative design by Tennent Brown Architects. Reflecting the red caves and cliffs opposite the site, and the coastal environment to the east, earthy sculpted elements on the road edge contrast with ‘boat shed’ classrooms overlooking the playgrounds.

Alongside these dynamic spatial features is a highly practical interior designed to meet the long-term maintenance and durability requirements of a busy primary school.

The architects specified Seratone Specialty wall lining in areas where water resistance and hygienic surfaces were key – namely, the staff kitchen walls, as well as splashbacks for classroom art and cooking sinks throughout the school.

School kitchen design School kitchen design

Seratone’s high-gloss, light-reflective surface makes it incredibly easy to clean following food splashes or creative play. With any build-up easily removed with a soft cloth and a domestic-style cleaner, surfaces retain their looks and integrity over the long term.

The collection features a wide range of colour choices in a palette specifically designed to complement other contemporary materials.

Rather than use primary colour accents common in schools, ‘we have let students provide the bright colours in their clothing and artwork, not the design’, says project architect Brenda Solon. ‘With a more neutral approach colour, the soft grey of Seratone Creaming Soda provides the subtle backdrop we were after for teaching and learning spaces.’

Made in New Zealand for over 50 years, Seratone was specially designed for the humid conditions and cooking residue of commercial kitchens. It features a 100% UV-cured painted surface which is scratch-resistant and non-porous, making Seratone a benchmark product for high-use environments such as kitchens, commercial laundries and bathrooms.

Seratone’s highly engineered coating contains a bio silver additive – silver is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial that prevents bacteria from growing, producing energy or replicating. Being inorganic and non-leaching, silver is superior to an organic antimicrobial alternative; as long as the surface is kept clean, these particles continue acting for the lifetime of the product.

Because of its durability and antimicrobial surface, Seratone exceeds requirements around hygiene in wet areas. Manufactured in larger sheets (2700 mm high), it comes in a wide décor range, with both aluminium and silicone jointing options for finishing.

School kitchen design School kitchen design
Public school kitchen design Public school kitchen design

In the staff kitchen and the art sinks throughout Redcliffs School, Seratone has been paired with Melteca Planked Urban Oak cabinetry, an Environmental Choice panel designed for value and durability, key benefits for any education environment.

Strandfloor® creates a peaceful school library environment despite active classroom spaces on the storey above.

While most of the two-storey construction is concrete, the library wing is built in timber, and the architects needed to separate classroom activities on level one from the quiet, concentrated library space below.

‘The floor needed acoustic and fire separation,’ says project architect Brenda Solon. ‘It was very important the library underneath wasn’t subject to thumping from the floor above, so the acoustic consultants pointed us to Strandfloor.’

The Strandfloor fire and acoustic floor system is specifically formulated for use in residential and commercial intertenancy floors. Excellent sound dampening is achieved with two layers of Strandfloor, the first layer fixed to the timber floor joists and the second layer fixed into wooden battens over a rubber cradle, creating a floating floor.

Strandfloor is manufactured from large strands of Pinus radiata, which are bonded with a pMDI resin that is urea formaldehyde–free. These large strands provide greater strength than particleboard of the same thickness, while a wax emulsion added during the bonding process allows for greater durability and moisture-resistance.

The system has an acoustic performance Sound Transmission Class (STC) of 65, and an Impact Insulation Class (IIC) of 56. The system delivers to all requirements of the New Zealand Building Code, and has been tested and verified to achieve fire ratings up to 60/60/60.

Strandfloor also offers excellent environmental credentials. It is CodeMark certified by BRANZ, and is declared Red List Free in the Declare Products Database, a globally recognised nutrition label for the building products industry, formed as part of the Living Building Challenge.

For Redcliffs School, the Strandfloor system plays an invisible yet important role, allowing students to study undisturbed or learn with freedom, without one group imposing on the other.

Project: Te Raekura Redcliffs School, Christchurch
Architect: Tennent Brown Architects
Product: Strandfloor
Writer: Folio