Architect Alan Walker of designgroup architects h+k says a contemporary structure was required, something that would match the forward-thinking ideology of the school and its trustees, which had to fund the project themselves.
The resulting $880,000 building comprises two 160 sqm dance studios and a basement. It has been slotted between two existing buildings, one a 1960s gymnasium clad in iron and the other a 1980s classroom block clad in brick and fibrelight. Alan says because of these, the choice of cladding was imperative to the success of the project.
“The existing buildings had various claddings which would have been impossible to match. We were going to have to use a standalone material anyway, so decided to use something new and contemporary.”
Alan chose the recently released Scyon Stria Cladding from James Hardie New Zealand. Stria is a wide cladding board with a 15mm horizontal groove that provides the classic appeal of decorative render and solid masonry.
“We were able to paint the boards to match the school colours and the coverage per unit is excellent. It looks good, too. It provides more aesthetic interest than just blank panels,” the architect says.
“The dance studios are on the first floor so out of reach of the normal wear and tear a school building may experience, but Stria is a good, solid material so I was confident it would wear well.”
Stria is made from Scyon, an advanced lightweight cement composite with heavy-duty performance. It is resistant to damage from fire, moisture and rot, and resists shrinking, swelling and cracking to hold paint longer than wood.
The boards are factory sealed and face primed, ready for installation upon delivery. It is easy to cut and can be gun nailed for quick installation. Alan says these features made it an ideal material for use in a school project.
“Stria has a timeless look that I could see being adaptable to different designs, from quite contemporary projects through to those which are reasonably traditional,” he says.