The Waikumete Development is a new apartment block comprising 165 residential units with retail beneath in Glen Eden, Auckland. The building features thoughtful design with space and light maximised in interiors to provide comfortable high-density living, and an exterior facade that has been designed not only for functionality but to also add visual appeal.
“The design team wanted to do something to make the exterior wall pop, and the client wanted something related to New Zealand,” explains the quantity surveyor on the project. The project team worked with the client to find the right design, ultimately opting for a silver fern pattern that would add a touch of local flair.
To bring the design to life, they needed an exterior cladding that could meet fire and durability requirements while also allowing for a high level of customisation. “Equitone was chosen as we could engrave the pattern on one side of the building, creating that visual effect,” he says.
Available in New Zealand through The Building Agency, Equitone is a through-coloured high density fibre cement material that is installed on a T50 rainscreen system. A non-combustible solution available in a large panel size, it is an ideal low maintenance option for commercial buildings. Important for this project, Equitone is versatile — it can be transformed into any size or shape and can be customised with options for bespoke perforations, embossing and printing.
Incorporating the silver fern design into the facade was surprisingly easy. “Our team sent The Building Agency’s Approved Fabricator one picture and they sorted it all out — in about four or five weeks they had the whole thing finished,” he says. The design sits eight storeys high and measures 30m x 12m — spanning several Equitone fibre cement panels that line up perfectly.
While the ability to engrave the Equitone panels was a highlight, the design team was also pleased with the cladding in general. In total, 185 Equitone panels in colour TE-00 were installed on the building, spanning 305m². “It’s a very simple and user-friendly rainscreen option that’s quick and easy to install,” he says. “It’s doesn’t require painting, maintenance is easy and is quite cost-effective. It ticks a lot of boxes.”
With installation now complete, the impressive fern design adds a visual point of interest to the building that while intricate was uncomplicated to achieve thanks to Equitone. “It was seamless,” he says. “We were happy and the client was happy. We’d definitely use Equitone again.”