Iconic landmark celebrated in new school hall with Cemintel Surround core neutral palette

Drawing inspiration from the natural stone and sharp angles of nearby Walsh’s Pyramid – the highest freestanding natural pyramid in the world – Gordonvale State High School’s new multipurpose hall is fast becoming a new landmark for the local community.

Designed by architects, Clarke and Prince Pty Ltd, the hall’s unique feature wall of contrasting grey and white panels is set against a ‘wicked green’ background to bring a new energy and sense of purpose to the school and its students.

“The new multipurpose single court sports hall at Gordonvale State High School is part of the State Government’s 'Advancing Queensland Schools' program to provide schools with the facilities needed to support students to make the most of their education,” says Clarke and Prince Architect, Martin Majer.

“The brief called for a design response that could stand up to north Queensland’s tropical elements and the rigours of a busy school yard, but also provide a new look for the school’s streetscape which had seen little change over its 53-year history,” says Majer.

According to Majer, Cemintel’s Surround cladding range with its neutral colour palate was the perfect choice to create a design statement for the school that would also complement the school’s natural surrounds.

Whiteish, Greyish and Blueish Base products were selected from Cemintel’s Surround range; referencing the shades of granite from the town’s famous natural pyramid.

“We worked with both the builder and the Cemintel team to create a composition for the feature wall using the three colours that felt most appropriate for the context, while also ensuring that all materials were fully utilised to maximise the use of the project’s budget,” says Majer.

Ensuring that the project delivered on value was a key consideration for Clarke and Prince, both now and in the future. Project manager Sam Dorahy from Bryant Qld Pty Ltd, agrees and believes that the cladding’s design and performance-based finishes were a critical consideration in selecting the Cemintel Surround range for the project.

“During the build we experienced 35 days of rain which was a good reminder of the types of conditions the building will need to withstand. Cemintel Surround is very well suited for external use in this climate because of its durability,” says Dorahy.

Each Cemintel Surround panel comes prefinished with a highly effective water-repellent coating to reduce the risk of delamination. The final sealant for the panels provides additional protection from environmental damage including pollution, mould or algae. Once installed, the panels do not need to be painted.

“Initially we’d considered other options for the front facade but as soon as we looked at the Surround range, the school was sold because of how it looks and the fact that there are no ongoing maintenance costs,” says Majer.

The multipurpose hall isn’t the first time the school or Clarke and Prince have used Cemintel products.

“Clarke and Prince previously designed the new year seven building at the back of Gordonvale State High School where we used Cemintel cladding for the same reasons as the hall.

“Our own office actually features Cemintel’s Urban Grey to achieve a raw pre-cast concrete look. The number of people that walk into our office and touch the walls is amazing,” says Majer.

The front of the school has been transformed from bare-looking basketball courts to a striking building greeting students and visitors as they arrive and the school community couldn’t be more pleased.

“The feedback from the school and local community has been extremely positive. It’s exciting to think that the school’s new hall will take centre stage for the next chapter of the school’s history and growth,” concludes Majer.

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