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Movable Walls Bring Flexibility to Multi-Purpose Music Space

Designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects, the Centennial Building is a new facility at the heart of King’s School in Auckland. The building provides an additional 5,000m² of learning spaces for students with light-filled classrooms, music studios and breakout areas over four levels. A key part of the building’s design is a versatile music area which provides space for music classes, orchestra practice and even large performances.

In developing the design for this multipurpose space, Project Architect Sarah Hewlett-Diprose looked for a way to create flexibility, while also providing acoustic separation. A solution was found with dorma hueppe’s Comfortdrive Moveo Moveable Wall System, finished with an Autex acoustic covering for a designed STC level of 51 – 53.

The installed wall opens to 7.3m when fully retracted, and offers several opening options. “The ability to utilise the double height music multipurpose space in a range of modes was key to the selection of the operable wall,” says Hewlett-Diprose. “In closed mode, the space is used for orchestra, school bands and music class practices, providing the necessary acoustic separation. In open mode, students and teachers have the flexibility to move between the adjacent breakout area and music multipurpose space as desired to suit teaching and learning needs. And when performing to a larger audience, retracting the wall enables seating for parents and guests to continue into the generous breakout area beyond.” The school also notes that the flexibility to use half a wall or a third is great for providing a degree of enclosure if needed.

Operation of the Comfortdrive Moveo system is fast and easy — at the push of a button, the space can be quickly adjusted, saving on the time and energy required for more traditional moveable wall systems. “The ease with which the room can be transformed to provide diversity of learning environments is key,” says Hewlett Diprose. “The school have commented on the user friendly nature of the operation and the ability to fully retract the wall to open the room up with no posts in the way.”

The final result is a simple system that gives the music department a high level of versatility to ensure smooth running of classes and performances. And importantly, the school is pleased with the results: “Overall the wall is an amazing addition to our room and department. It gives us a sense of space if needed and the easy use ensures daily movement of the pieces.”

Click here to see a video of how the dorma hueppe Comfortdrive Moveo Wall opens and closes at the touch of a button at King's School. 

Architects: Warren and Mahoney
Photographer: Patrick Reynolds

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