Glazed expression - Building NZ
Glazed expression

Glazed expression

Bringing childcare centre to life with innovative windows and doors.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

When you’re sizing up a potential business to patronise what factors do you take into account to help make the decision? Certainly, reputation must play a part, as does trust in the brand, but what about first impressions? Afterall, as the adage says, they count.

When said business is a ‘bricks and mortar’ entity, first impressions can go a long way in getting you through the door. An integral part of a first impression, although you may not be consciously aware of it, is the type of glazing that’s been used.

“Whatever the project, be it retail or commercial, the right joinery and glazing will set the tone for people’s expectations,” says Dennis Good, Project Manager for Windowmakers. “Not to mention, it’s role in the ongoing relationship they will have with that environment.”

Windowmakers was recently commissioned to fabricate and install the joinery and glazing for Fantails Estate, an early learning centre around 30kms north of Auckland CBD.

Designed to engage with the surrounding environment, the individual 'pods' of Fantails Estate have a raking roofline that measures 3.3m at its highest point, necessitating a specialised approach to the joinery.

Windowmakers: partners in construction

“The main contractor, LEP Construction, has worked with us on a number of previous projects and reached out to us to be involved in this one.

“Typically, we would work directly with the architect, who would specify our product, but in this instance the architect was based in the UK, so LEP Construction approached us, knowing that our APL Architectural Series would be the ideal product for this project.”

Set on three-plus hectares of land within a rural lifestyle setting, Fantails Estate comprises five interconnected pods fanning out from a central core, creating individual environments for the different age groups using the centre.

Large, north-facing sliding doors enable a seamless indoor/outdoor flow to the landscaped grounds, with babies, toddlers and older children each having their own separate play areas in what is one of the largest landscaped outdoor spaces of any New Zealand early learning centre.

Dennis says Windowmakers supplied and fitted a range of glazing options to the project, as per the architect’s specifications.

The centre is set on three-plus hectares of rural land and features one of the largest landscaped outdoor spaces of any New Zealand early learning centre.

APL Architectural Series: the ideal solution, every time.

“A number of custom units were detailed by the architect—including sliding doors, French doors, automatic sliding doors, bi-folding doors, hinged doors and a variety of window types—which we then had to ensure would be up to code.

“This meant the redesign of a couple of the joinery items, in conjunction with the architect, so that they would adhere to NZS 4223.4 for wind loading.”

Dennis says that all of the aluminium product came from APL in Hamilton in 5–6-metre lengths and was machined to size before being fabricated as per the architect’s drawings and then finished in a matte ironsand colour.

“The five individual pods feature a raked roofline and as such are 3.3m high at the end that leads outside, this required a specialised product that was right at the limit of what we can do.

“For other areas, we manufactured 2.4–2.5m French doors; 2.4m single-opening casement windows with restrictors and 2.4m top-sliding shug windows, as well as 100mm commercial shop front frames on auto sensors.”

Windowmakers fabricated a number of custom units—including sliding doors, French doors, automatic sliding doors, bi-folding doors, hinged doors, single-opening casement windows and top-sliding shug windows.

Windowmakers: bringing your vision to life

In all, the Windowmakers’ team spent around three months on site, which Dennis says is a fairly standard outcome for a project of this nature.

“From carrying out the first on site measurements to joinery being delivered to site, was around 3–4 weeks. We then carried out a staged 4–5 week programme of installation of the joinery, working in concert with LEP Construction as they finished the pods; followed by fitting the glazing—10.38 ComfortPlus laminated glass, which was ordered prior to the start of project to ensure it would be on site as needed.

“Technically, this was a complex job, with a lot of profiles and variations. I’m pleased to say that the entire Windowmakers team rose to the challenge and the result is worthy of the architect and client’s vision for the project. The APL Architectural Suite has really lifted the project and truly brought it to life.”

Learn more about aluminium joinery fabrication and specifying the right range for your next project.

Recommended reading