Cladding panels from the Cemintel® Surround range were selected in a neutral palette for the feature wall on the new sports hall at the Gordonvale State High School in Gordonvale, Qld.

Designed by Clarke and Prince Architects, the new multipurpose hall has a unique feature wall of contrasting grey and white panels set against a ‘wicked green’ background. This wall draws inspiration from the natural stone and sharp angles of the nearby Walsh’s Pyramid – the highest freestanding natural pyramid in the world.

“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,” explains Majer.

Cemintel’s Surround cladding range with its neutral colour palette was the perfect choice to create a design statement for the school that would also complement the natural surrounds. Referencing the various shades of granite on the town’s famous pyramid, the design team chose Whiteish, Greyish and Blueish Base products from Cemintel’s Surround range.

“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.

The architects at Clarke and Prince were keen to ensure that the project delivered on value well into the future. Project manager Sam Dorahy from Bryant Qld Pty Ltd 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.

According to Majer, they did consider other options initially for the front facade but selected the Surround range for its visual appeal as well as the fact that there would be no ongoing maintenance costs.

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, minimising long-term maintenance.

The Gordonvale school’s multipurpose hall isn’t the first time the school or the architects have used Cemintel products. Clarke and Prince had previously designed the Year Seven building at the back of the school, for which they had specified Cemintel cladding for the same reasons as the sports hall.

Majer says they have featured Cemintel’s Urban Grey at their own office to achieve a raw pre-cast concrete look, which has also drawn appreciation from visitors.

Following the installation of Cemintel cladding, the front of the school has been transformed from bare-looking basketball courts to a striking building greeting students and visitors. Gordonvale State High School’s new multipurpose hall is fast becoming a new landmark for the local community.

“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.