The roof of a school's library entrance will be only the second public structure designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser in the Southern Hemisphere.
Birkdale Intermediate School staff hope the artist's design will draw students to the library and remind them that learning is not only about literacy, maths and numeracy.
Principal of the Auckland school, Richard Coote, had seen the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa and included a Hundertwasser option in those presented to the school council when they began planning the entrance about four years ago.
The artist's archivist provided the design.
Construction started about two weeks ago and is expected to be finished by the end of the year. Students have planted the roof and helped put the ceramics on the entrance's five columns. The project will cost about $80,000, mostly met through income from Birkdale's international students.
Mr Coote said it was important to make space in schools for areas including sports, the arts, culture and music.
• Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser spent the latter part of his life at Waikare Inlet in the Bay of Islands. He died in 2000.
• Hundertwasser's paintings used bright colours, but he is more widely known for his unique architectural designs which incorporate natural features of the landscape and reject straight lines.