wilsons special needs buildings small
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The first purpose-built special needs school in New Zealand

We provided architectural design, structural and engineering services for this project which went on to win a clutch of esteemed architectural awards.

Wilson school provides educational care for children with severe mental and physical disability. The building is designed to create a sustainable and more enjoyable environment for the school’s students.

Opus provided architectural design, structural and services engineering services for this project for the Ministry of Education, with a $5m construction budget.

The school is located on land leased from the Wilson Home Trust. It is a tranquil and serene site in a well-established park-like setting. The building connects quietly with the landscape and expresses a close relationship to nature without overwhelming it.

Its simple form in timber and glass sits beneath and is respectful of the surrounding trees and landscaping. This creates a therapeutic and calming backdrop for the children who use it.

There is a strong notion of ‘support’ in the form of the building. This idea is expressed through the dialogue between the two key forms.

The project received full ESD funding for demonstrating environmental sustainability design principles.

Wilson School has received many accolades for its design including the following awards:

  • 2012 Best Public Service Architecture Asia Pacific Award
  • 2009 NZIA Architecture Medal
  • 2009 NZIA Award (Public Architecture)
  • 2008 NZIA Auckland Branch Award (Public Architecture)