COLORBOND steel from BlueScope Steel was liberally used during the construction of a new triple-storey building at the Kirwan State High School in Townsville.

Increasing enrolments at Queensland's second-largest State-owned high school placed immense pressure on their facilities, necessitating the construction of a new building to house 20 additional learning areas.

The client - Queensland's Department of Education, Training and Employment - engaged Brisbane-based architecture firm Deicke Richards for a building design that would provide a new visual identity and strong street presence for the school.

According to Deicke Richards director Eloise Atkinson, the school had not seen any updates since its construction; however, the recently deceased principal, John Livingston was committed to creating a building that signalled the school's engagement with the wider community. Given the low-key look of the existing school, the principal was determined that the new building would have sufficient height to give it a strong street presence while sophisticated finishes would reflect its professionalism.

COLORBOND steel was specified for the project, and included one of the first ever applications of BlueScope's latest COLORBOND Metallic steel.

An end wall made from 70 square metres of COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Celestian clads the school's plant room, which is flanked by concrete blockwork walls set in a patterned fashion.

The architect explained that this part of the building was intentionally made to look very different to the rest of the school's wall cladding, most of which was made from 350 square metres of COLORBOND steel in LYSAGHT SPANDEK profile, in the colours Deep Ocean and Ironstone. Approximately 1300 square metres of roofing was made from COLORBOND steel in LYSAGHT KLIP-LOK profile in the colour Windspray, and the same material extended to clad the soffits, in LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB profile.

Though the initial plan was to use a standard colour and let the surrounding blockwork patterns be the plant room centrepiece, they switched to the new COLORBOND Metallic steel, using its sparkling effect to create a playful look.

On the use of COLORBOND Metallic steel for the plant room, Deicke Richards project architect Tim Zieth explained that the plant room was a non-priced variation in the contract and was still unfinished, creating an excellent opportunity to try a new product. They decided to go with Metallic COLORBOND once they found the price was within budget. Mr Zieth says COLORBOND Metallic steel is very eye-catching, providing a contrast to the blockwork screen, and adding another whole layer of texture and pattern to the building.

Mr Zieth said builders Watpac Construction rose to the occasion to finish the variation in time for the new school. Despite the tight schedule, Watpac liaised directly with BlueScope to ensure quick delivery of COLORBOND Metallic steel.