The Garden City Air Centre, owned by GCH Aviation, is a $23m multi-purpose facility that combines air ambulance, rescue and VIP tourism portal functions with hangar storage for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
Situated at the southern end of the airport, the Air Centre is the culmination of a long aviation career by Managing Director, John Currie, who began Garden City Helicopters in 1983 at New Brighton Beach as a rescue and scenic flight operator. Today, the company has about 24 helicopters and nine fixed-wing aircraft, employing 121 staff.
The planning and location for the 9,000m² building took more than 10 years to finalise with Christchurch International Airport Ltd, and construction a further two years, under the watchful eye of Christchurch Designer Tim Lonsdale, of Lonsdale Architectural.
Visiting aviation industry executives from overseas have commented that the centre is the best private facility of its type that they have encountered.
Two roomy hangar buildings, with five separate aircraft storage units, sit either side of an administration complex that draws on high-spec APL commercial systems supplied by Altherm manufacturer, Design Windows. Large Structural Glaze panels, Flushglaze windows, and dramatic, raking 40mm commercial glazing give the centre’s reception area and core facilities a light-filled transparency and sparkle, helped along by an eye-catching, inverted gable roof, angled ready for flight.
Glazing was mainly in high-performance IGU’s optimised for both acoustic protection from aircraft noise and thermal efficiency.
APL systems used in the building included 168mm Structural Glaze, 100mm Flushglaze, 100mm Shopfront, the 40mm Suite, APL Architectural Series sliding doors and Magnum hinged doors. Two powdercoat surface finishes were used, Duralloy Metropolis Coal Dust and Silver Pearl.
The builder was Street & Cook Construction.