How an urban development benefited from terracotta cladding - Building NZ
How an urban development benefited from terracotta cladding

How an urban development benefited from terracotta cladding

When looking for cladding solutions for the project, the property developer, Avant Group, knew they wanted a strong form that differed from the brick they had used in an earlier stage of the development — so they began to look for a terracotta tile that stood out.

Words by Nick Forrester

In early 2020, construction began on a medium density urban housing development in Manukau. Dubbed Kōtuitui, the Māori word for ‘connect’ or ‘interlink’, the project was named in recognition of the site as a liveable ‘place’ within the wider neighbourhood, and for its goal to create a more connected community.

Before its construction, the development, which is made up of two- and three-bedroom terrace homes, had a goal to provide affordable housing that also espoused quality urban design and architecture, with the project exuding individual character.

Looking at the finished product, which was completed in December last year, it’s not hard to see the primary example of how the developers achieved this goal — the exterior cladding, supplied by CSR Monier Roofing, gives a striking first impression. 

Clad with the company's Urban Shingle Terracotta Tiles in striking orange and titan grey hues, these masonry tiles, along with the timber cladding and unique aluminium fenestration, present a facade that both stands out from and responds to the site’s surroundings and topography.

When looking for cladding solutions for the project, the property developer, Avant Group, knew they wanted a strong form that differed from the brick they had used in an earlier stage of the development — so they began to look for a terracotta tile that stood out.

Kallam Brown, the development manager from Avant Group, says they found a few options from European suppliers — but due to the emerging supply chain challenges at the beginning stages of the pandemic, they realised they needed to search closer to home.

“We knew that we wanted a terracotta tile that had a range of colours, because we wanted it to be a natural finish that didn't need painting, and was going to be long-lasting,” says Kallam.

“After ruling out European suppliers, we did a bit of research and found a product that had been used as the exterior cladding for Wellington Hospital, which stood out. And so we got in contact with CSR Monier — and that was the beginning of a very fruitful partnership.”

Kōtuitui was the first residential project that used this cladding vertically— all prior projects of this type were commercial.

CSR Monier’s terracotta cladding: The perfect fit

With the product coming from Australia, it didn’t take long to request samples of the tile, which were utilised to understand the ways in which the vertical cladding could be used for a residential development — as it had only been used as cladding on commercial buildings prior to Kōtuitui.

Peleseuma Anitele’a, CSR Monier’s account manager for the project, says that after the samples were flown over from Australia around September of 2020, it became clear that the Urban Shingle Terracotta Tiles were the way to go for the project.

“Then it became a matter of engaging installers, and coordinating between each stakeholder about how the product would be used and installed,” says Peleseuma. “Once the samples had been proven to be a success, we calculated the quantities needed for the entire project, including the two different colours.”

This gave the team the ability to order early, which then meant the product arrived ahead of time — and construction was able to commence on time.

As of 2022, all the homes in the development have been sold.

The result: An urban development that’s both stunning and affordable

The rest is history: the build was a success and all homes in the development have been sold. This stage of the Kōtuitui project also won the Roofing Association of New Zealand: Residential Roof of the year award, awarded to Webb's Brick and Roof Tiles, who did the installation.

And Peleseuma says the materiality and quality of the exterior cladding in CSR Monier’s Urban Shingle Terracotta Tiles will contribute greatly to the general longevity of the development.

“This product has been designed to last a lifetime,” he says. “And this is not just in terms of its physical longevity — its aesthetics are timeless as well.

“There’s a reason that terracotta has endured throughout the centuries, and I firmly believe that it will endure in Kōtuitui as well.”

Learn more about CSR Monier and its offerings, as well as other projects they’re working on.

Architect: Crosson Architects

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