Japanese flair for new school

18:12, Dec 11 2013
Cathedral Grammar
AMBITIOUS PLANS: Designer Andrew Barrie, left, visits Cathedral Grammar School with Japanese architect Takaharu Tezuka and headmaster Paul Kennedy.

An award-winning Japanese architect believes he will make a Christchurch school one of the most quake-safe in the country.

Cathedral Grammar School has appointed Tezuka Architecture to develop a masterplan for the rebuild of its junior school, boys' school, girls' school, chapel, administration block and gymnasium.

Takaharu Tezuka has been in Christchurch with his New Zealand-based partner, designer Andrew Barrie, to get inspiration and hear ideas from the community at the private primary school this week.

He told The Press he was "very much excited" about bringing his work to New Zealand.

Tezuka designed Fuji Kindergarten, in Japan, which was voted best educational facility in the world by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2011. The oval building includes protruding trees and a roof deck to cater for up to 600 children.

"People consider I am an education building specialist, " Tezuka said.


He was thinking about timber structures for Cathedral Grammar, which were used in Japan to stand for hundreds of years.

"It stands against very strong earthquakes and that is proven in Japan too."

There had been three quakes in Japan in the last five years that were as big as Christchurch's largest.

He described his designs as "calm and stable", modern, but respecting tradition. He preferred architecture being open to the surrounding environment, even in the city.

Barrie, who has known Tezuka for years, said it was good to work with a school that was "ambitious". "We want this to be the model of what a great school it is."


The Press