Learning Space DesignLab at May Road School

May Road School Principal, Lynda Stuart, asked me to join her project team to support the design development of May Road School and staff preparation to move into learning and teaching teaming when their new build is completed in 2023.

There is currently major property and housing development in the surrounding area, which will  result in a dramatic imcrease in the school roll.

The first stage of the new build of this project, is a three story facility with 5 teachers teaming on each floor.

With  this project we used the  Autens Pasifika Learning Space Design Lab TM to dig deeper into linking  the school vision to learning and teaching practice. 


The school has a strong partnership with the local iwi / tribe,  Te Aketai Waiohua, and wish to weave their history and stories into both design elements in the new building and to link these with their evolving curriculum. 

The school engaged me to run seven stakeholder engagement workshops to give feedback to the architects. These included learners, teachers and support staff, Board, and parents. 

We prototyped scaled models of the frame of the building with the brief that the space would be very agile, and that while there was likely to be a team of two and a team of three teachers on each floor, at times all five teachers would work together.

From these workshops we drew out key principles that will drive the design, ensuring that the design elements will be active tools for learning.

From this process May Road School leadership team and Board have decided that each floor of the new building will represent elements of the Māori creation story.  Papatūānuku, Tāne and Ranginui will be represented on each floor through design elements. This will create a learner- inspired environment which all cultures will relate to and recognize their cultural narrative.  The environment itself will be like a third teacher, and will be very motivating for the schools curriculum aspiration and values.   

Principal Lynda Stuart commented that she was blown away by the engagement of the stakeholder groups and thought the process was a very powerful, drawing out  key principles to drive the design, ensuring the spaces become an active tool for learning and teaching.

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