Redesign of the courtyard at Waitara High School, Taranaki. New features focus on accessibility and an integrated environment for all students to enjoy.
Waitara High School is located in Waitara, North Taranaki. RICH Landscapes came on board to redesign the court area and focused on creating an accessible integrated space for all students to enjoy.
The existing facility was a basic school courtyard, so in redesigning it we wanted to make the most of the central outdoor space by providing a flexible environment for a range of school activities that would also work for occasional events involving the wider community.
Central to the design is a full basketball court with circulation pathways leading to, from and around the area. This allows students easy access to the facilities while providing space to navigate around others who are also utilising the area.
The name of Waitara is said to be derived from the story of Whare Matangi, the estranged son of Ngārue. He was given a magic dart (tara) that would lead him to his father. After a number of throws, the tara struck Ngārue’s house at the mouth of the river, thereafter, known as Te Whai-tara-nui-a-Ngārue (follow the dart of Ngārue).
This story has been referenced with the angular ‘dart’ shaped surface patterning of the ‘Urban Plaza’ which is located adjacent the C block deck. The deck and Plaza are intended to function together as an informal outdoor stage and gathering space.
The coloured surfacing helps to create a unique environment while also providing visual cues for those participating in play activities.
The school is home to a number of skateboarders and students who participate in wheel-based activities so we incorporated skateable features around the plant area, giving further purpose to the environment as a whole.
The surface is colourful and aids in direction, distinctly mapping out the various parts of the area. Coloured surfacing helps to create a unique environment while also providing visual cues for those participating in play activities.