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Fabricator Vistalite Otago - E13 Performance Windows
Systems Baltic Bespoke Thermal Curtain Wall
Industry Sector Recreation
Architect / Designer Michael Wyatt Architects
The massive glass facades and epic sweep of the overhanging triangular frontage echo the grandeur of the mountains beyond.
The intention was to create a landmark, and it’s certainly that.
The story behind the build is equally dramatic, which is to be expected with so many construction boundaries being pushed.
The judges at the 2017 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards (where, on top of picking up a slew of awards, it was also named Supreme Winner) called the Ski Base a
“project like no other”. Indeed.
The three-storey 6000m2 building houses restaurants, kitchens, a sophisticated mechanical plant, ski collection stations, shops and open dining spaces. During peak season, over 3500 people walk through its doors, every day.
Glazing soars from floor to ceiling, enhancing the sense of space within while at the same time capturing all those spectacular alpine views.
Being set among those snow-clad peaks meant that wind loading and thermal performance were key considerations.
“We needed a thermally broken profile that could withstand big wind forces,” says architect Michael Wyatt.
Wyatt liaised with the team at E13 Performance Windows early on in the design process to ensure his vision for vast expanses of glazing was achievable.
“We wanted to understand how the windows were going to cope with 270km/hr winds and how mullion centres and glass thicknesses would interact. We arrived at a module that worked with structural support centres and economic yields that were not in conflict with our architectural considerations.”
E13 were no strangers to coping with high wind pressures, having been involved in the Coronet Ski Field Base a few years earlier. They also brought in the Altus Technical Team at the start of the project to
“make sure we got off on the right foot”.
“We also worked with the glass supplier to get the right balance between what the materials could handle in the environment while balancing the need for pleasing design,” says Michael Brenssell, Director of E13 Performance Windows.
It was agreed that the Baltic™ 159mm Curtain Wall System from Altus was the best solution.
The System is used across a variety of commercial applications where high performance is key. These include high-rise buildings, schools, retail outlets and event venues.
“The Curtain Wall System provides superior strength, increased spans and greater glazing depths,” Brenssell explains. “Plus it has the bolt on beads necessary to resist the suction loads caused by high winds.”
The thermally broken framing and 28mm glazing also ensures the interior of the building remains warm and comfortable, regardless of how boisterous the weather conditions outside.
These same weather conditions made the build challenging (to put it mildly).
The team from E13 Performance Windows worked closely with construction firm Arrow International (NZ), using scissor lifts and snorkel booms in sub-zero temperatures and howling winds.
The only access was via a winding, ice-covered mountain road, so all of the aluminium had to be transported to the site in “stick” or modular form. Once there it was assembled and installed.
“Bad weather often caused delays so we had to work every available hour to meet the deadline,” Brenssell says.
Working 12 hours a day, seven days a week was not uncommon. The end result, however, was worth it.
The judges at the 2017 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards recognised the outstanding efforts of everyone involved saying that even with all the challenges faced, “the remarkable team was still able to achieve a very high standard of finishes across all trades.”