16 x 9 award









$4.9 million


TEAM Dunedin

Dunedin’s Columba College has a long tradition of boarding, primarily for girls from rural families in Otago and Southland. We designed the first stage of their new boarding village to be a true home away from home for boarders. With a focus on individual and social wellbeing, it is securely sited within the school grounds but allows residents to disconnect from the school environment.

Columba Boarding Village Hero Exterior Nick Beadle v3

Home to around 50 boarders, the first stage contains bedrooms with ensuites, study rooms, and domestically-scaled Year Group lounges — their own communal area, creating ‘families’ within the wider Village.

The building forms a ‘U’ shape, framing a central courtyard which links the ground floor lounge spaces, encouraging interaction between different year groups. A large central communal space is where breakfast is served daily and different year groups can mix, socialise and spend time with visiting family. This large central lounge is light and cosy, with doors to the exterior amenity spaces and a fireplace to gather around. Different floor finishes and ceiling panels help divide the lounge into different zones, providing a more domestic scale.

Student accommodation is a mix of individual and shared bedrooms. Modular joinery units in the shared bedrooms provide a study desk and wardrobe while acting as a room divider and pinboard. These provide privacy to the girls in their beds and allow them to personalise their spaces.

The Boarding Village also contains two 1-bed apartments, with independent access, for the senior university students who act as Resident Advisors for the boarding students.

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Located at the northern edge of the school campus, alongside residential neighbours, we designed the Boarding Village to feel warm and home-like, rather than institutional. Boarders have direct pedestrian access to their school; however the buildings look out to the local neighbourhood and the views beyond, and a separate entrance gives the Boarding Village its own identity and sense of arrival.

To maintain a residential typology among its mostly single-storey neighbours, the Boarding Village features gabled roofs, timber framing, and materials common to domestic dwellings.

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Columba Boarding Village Bedroom Joinery Nick Beadle v3
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