As the school's post-earthquake redevelopment plan unfolded, the outdated gymnasium was destined to be replaced by something extraordinary. The new Atawhai Building was not merely a gymnasium; it was a transformative space that would transcend the boundaries of learning and play.



It had to be a sanctuary of compassion and care in order to reflect the meaning of the school’s name ‘Rangi Ruru’; shelter beneath the wide sky. The name "Atawhai," meaning "to care and have compassion for people," resonated deeply with the community, gifted to Rangi Ruru by Ngai Tahu hapū, Ngāi Tūāhuriri from Tuahiwi. With this vision in mind, the design took shape, mirroring the night sky with a constellation-adorned façade illuminated in serene blue light during the nocturnal hours.



The solution was a space that was not only excellent in functionality but created an inviting and transformative atmosphere for the development and education of the next generation of young women in Christchurch.


There are three key areas of great lighting design. 

The Core Walls

These light surfaces were wall washed in 3000K via ERCO Iku Wallwashers to properly define the architecture in a homogenous and glare-free manner. You can see the full depth and scale of the space through the glass outer walls into the building core. This not only compliments the architecture of the building but also aligns with the name of the building, “to care and have compassion for people” by feeling inviting and warm.


The Gymnasium

The gymnasium features a tuneable white system to align with outside conditions and promote brighter days and warmer nights. Featuring RZB Linedo 3000k and 5000k as alternating modules within linear trunking, the space is controlled via DALI and linked to tuneable white downlights around the periphery for homogenous colour appearance and consistency. This low solution cost but highly effective design allows the school to have a variety of ‘scenes’. 5000K at 1000 lux for daytime activities and the capability of live-streaming sport-related events. Combination of 3000K and 5000K, so that the space can feel warm and comfortable but still visually clear for events such as exams, or assessments.  Then 3000K for night-time or after school hours,  and external events that require a more intimate or cosy atmosphere with light levels down to 20 lux. Not to mention the stage performances that are also held within the space requiring dimming to zero. The flexibility this allows the clients was imperative in the lighting design solution.


The Outdoor Effect

When illuminated at night time, the building reflects the name that was influential in the design journey. Lumenpulse Lumenbeam projectors with a royal blue colour give a scenic element to the faceted upper facade that is aligned the building narrative.



Innovation and creativity were the cornerstones of Eleccom's approach, and user experience was paramount in Eleccom's design. The project embodies the lighting principles of Richard Kelly - Ambient, Accent and Scenic to the key architectural elements. It succeeds as a Multi-use space for sport and entertainment through intelligent control and colour tuning. Allowing for dynamic lighting scenes and customisations, the lighting design transforms the space to suit the varied events and activities that would take place within its walls.


ERCO Iku Wall Washers

RZB Linedo 

Lumenpulse Lumenbeam Projectors

Lighting Designer



McIldowie Partners


Holders Technology


EWSmith Electrical


HIGGS Construction



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