We provided functional learning designs that reflected a stunning location.

Frankton - Queenstown, Otago

The Project

This award-winning new primary school was officially opened in August 2010 although the first classrooms were opened in February 2010.

The school’s Establishment Board had a strong vision for the teaching and values of the school. Our ambition was to create a school that embraced those core values – one that provides a welcoming, caring and inclusive environment serving the needs of the learning community. 

An adaptable environment was required that would meet current and future pedagogical needs of the anticipated 460 school roll. With a stunning setting between Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, Babbage wanted an architectural form that responded to and was fully integrated with the landscape. 






The Design

The site presented a number of challenges for us. It was approximately half the size of a typical primary school site with a 20 metre fall across the site. It is exposed to the prevailing winds off the Frankton Arm and with only 100 metres road frontage there is limited area for drop-off and pickup. The single biggest challenge, however, was the close proximity to the flight path in and out of Queenstown Airport. 

As a response to site conditions buildings have been arranged as a wind break around the play areas to enable comfortable year round use. Natural contours of the site have been used to create an outside auditorium/performance space embraced by the buildings, which appear to be emerging from the surrounding landscape. The natural tones of the materials used enhance the notion that the buildings are part of the landscape. 

Response to the design has been very positive both locally and nationally. We are proud to have won the NZIA National Award in Public Architecture, an NZIA Southern Architecture Award in Public Architecture, Southern Region Registered Master Builders Commercial Building of the Year 2011 and a merit award at the Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards.

This project was also one of four shortlisted for the 2012 New Zealand Architecture Medal, the highest award in New Zealand for architecture.

Key details


Remarkables Primary School
Ministry of Education, Naylor Love Construction
Frankton - Queenstown, Otago
$17.3 million
August 2010
Education and Learning

Project team

Frank Cleary
Caroline Sui
Craig Cooper
Dr. Victor Lam
Ivy Lo



North Island:

Dr. Victor Lam

+64 9 379 9980

South Island:

Matt Harris

+64 3 379 2734