Stunning facade like a “giant jigsaw”

Stunning facade like a “giant jigsaw”
Stunning facade like a “giant jigsaw”

Wellington Airport’s colourful new car park building required some ‘outside the box’ thinking in the scoping, construction and installation of its eye-catching aluminium facade, says Urban Group’s commercial manager William Stewart.
The Levin-based company was involved at the project’s feasibility stage to provide design and cost guidance. Perforated aluminium was selected to achieve the look Archaus architects required.
“We love the challenge of a good puzzle,” William says. “On this project that started with the initial presentation. The cost and time savings in our proposal helped everything click with the client.”
The company was subcontracted to Fletcher Construction to complete the engineering, fabrication and installation of the facade. “The size of this project was significant,” says William.
“We were faced with delivering a massive 6000 square metres of powder-coated aluminium screens.” The panels were coloured to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
Blues at the top of the building merge with the sky. These give way to the pine tree dark greens in the middle and the lighter greens reflecting the hills beyond.
There were seven sizes and nine colours to consider – 63 possible variations in total. With the installation requiring over 4000 sheets formed into 420 nine-metre long panels, expert planning and project management was vital.
Urban Group employed a dedicated project manager to oversee the project. William says that the installation “was like assembling a giant jigsaw”.
To complete the installation Urban Group invested in a specialised mini-crane, which eliminated the need for time-consuming and costly scaffolding efficiently lifting into place up to 150 square metres of façade each day helping to meet project deadlines. Quality construction was another big factor in the project’s success.
Seismic standards demanded the design allow for movement. The high wind zone required perforations of exact size to ensure ventilation while reducing wind pressure.
Operating from a purpose-built fabrication plant in Levin Urban Group has a long history of providing aluminium around New Zealand, everything from fencing, gates and balustrades through to louvres, screens and facades. The company’s services cover design, engineering, fabrication and project management.
“We manufacture predominantly in aluminium for a number of reasons. It’s lightweight and durable, making it easy to transport and install. The powdercoated finish also ensures it won’t rust or corrode,” says William.
“With our in-house powder-coating plant we’ve also got full control over quality and production schedules, so clients can rely on fast delivery even with demanding lead-times.”
Urban Group can work with clients throughout the entire life-cycle of a project delivering a full service approach. William says that by becoming involved in projects from the outset clients can make the most of the company’s specialist expertise.
“We’ve got well-coordinated teams working with construction companies, architects, property developers and home group builders on a daily basis.
It’s always about establishing what the specific requirements are, asking the right questions and maximising the value.”
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