Completed in 2012, Forte Apartments is an 11 level building sitting snugly on a long narrow site between Vivian and College streets in central Wellington.
The shape of the site means glazing is concentrated on the narrow walls and on light wells formed within the site. There are long fire-rated walls on either side of the building, part of which are pre-cast concrete shear walls and the rest is fibre cement sheet in the form of James Hardie's ExoTec Facade Panel. The fibre cement sheet provided a decorative element designed to break up the relatively long walls.
The James Hardie Solution
ExoTec is a high-density facade panel that provides a durable, expressed jointed panel look. ExoTec Facade Panels are fixed to steel Top Hat sections made from high-tensile steel for enhanced stability, and sections are zincalume coated to achieve long term durability.
Project Consultant Campbell Pope said the ExoTec provided some significant advantages for the project. "Aesthetically, its smooth and straight edges provided us with an ideal panelised facade system with a negative joint look that matched with concrete panels." The sheets were easily cut to conform to a prearranged cladding and window grid, before being painted in a colour scheme that met the design objectives.
More important though was the performance of the cladding. "ExoTec has been tested to wind loads of 5kpa, well above the highest corner condition loads," explains Campbell. "The tested details covered most of the conditions and junctions in the building."
While Campbell was pleased with the product he was even more impressed with the support provided by James Hardie. "The level of security they give to council is their distinguishing feature."
James Hardie's technical expert Singh Kamboj was always available for consultation and provided documentation to Wellington City Council for consent purposes. Carpenters using the product received on-site training and James Hardie visited the site periodically to provide feedback on the installation of ExoTec Facade Panel.
"I am very pleased with James Hardie's technical support," concludes Campbell. "I would always consider Exotec as a cladding product in a similar situation."
Project: Forte Apartments, 13 College Street Wellington
Developer: Evolo Ltd
Builder: Mckee Fehl Constructors Ltd
Architect: Warren and Mahoney
Engineers: Sylvester Clark