This new commercial building in Queenstown has been designed to fit in with its industrial neighbourhood and the surrounding alpine environment. The concrete facade building features a large roof which cantilevers out and is seemingly held up by corten steel fins below. To achieve this corten steel appearance while ensuring long lasting durability, David Stringer Architects specified Insol aluminium louvres finished with a Metwood corten steel coating.
“We wanted the corten look but we didn’t want to have the associated weathering problems of corten,” explains David Stringer, David Stringer Architects. “We had dark charcoal black exposed aggregate panels and precast concrete panels, and we knew they would absorb any leaching of that rust.”
Having recently been introduced to the Metwood coating system, the project team knew their corten coating system would provide the combination of looks and durability they needed. “Metwood had shown us what you could do with their coating system, and it was just astounding,” says David. “So we went down that path and utilised lookalike corten for the project.”
Metwood provides a range of realistic woodgrain and patina finishes to aluminium louvres, cladding, soffits, pergolas and more. The key to the longevity and realistic look of Metwood’s coating is their 2-step coating process. First, the substrate is powder coated, and then the textured finish is sublimated into the powder coating, providing a realistic and durable end result.
Insol, who supplied the louvres on this project, had worked with Metwood before, and are impressed by the new options the coatings open up. “Where the system really comes into its own is that it helps achieve a look which could be considered impossible with the durability and maintenance constraints typically found using the product it's imitating,” says Shane Hart, Insol. “Using the Metwood range unlocks a whole different aesthetic and means architects can achieve a lot more with our louvres.”
The coating process for the project was very straightforward; Insol prefabricated the aluminium blades and louvres, which were then sent to Metwood for coating before being delivered to site for installation. “Metwood are quick and easy to work with, so that helps the construction programme,” says Shane.
By using the Metwood coating system on aluminium louvres, the project didn’t run into any weight issues which steel may have caused. The coating system also ensures low maintenance and longevity — backed by Metwood’s warranties of 10 years on the pattern, and 25 years on the underlying powder coating. “The warranties are a benefit for clients, especially in corrosive environments where they’re looking for long term durability,” says Shane.
The end result is a stunning corten steel look for the louvres which can be trusted to last with minimal maintenance for years to come.
“It’s come up fantastic”, says Shane. “By using the Metwood coating the architects were able to overcome the leaching and durability concerns of genuine corten steel and achieve the same gritty industrial look.”
“The Metwood product is fantastic, it’s drawn a lot of positive feedback,” adds David. “I drove past just last week and it still looks like the day it went up, three years on.”
Architect: David Stringer Architects