The Centre for Corporate and Executive Education completes a line of iconic, purpose-designed buildings at Waikato University. The multi-level Law Management building opened in December 2015 and houses Te Piringa – Waikato University’s Faculty of Law, and Waikato Management School.
Design goals for the Centre were maximized use of natural light, open work and study areas for students, and smooth indoor-outdoor transitions. Stand-out features include a sunken courtyard, subterranean rooms with a ‘living lawn’ roof, tunnel access to another faculty block, and a five-story office tower – features that all demanded sophisticated, robust seal and construction jointing systems.
Fletcher Construction contracted Interior Components to supply and fit its world-leading joint sealing products throughout the Centre, and across the outdoor spaces connecting it to the wider campus.
Owner of Interior Components, John Hutchings, explains, “Our international R&D focus means that our expansion joint systems, for instance, are not just a perfect response to modern building design and finish requirements – they also have the effect of opening up new design possibilities for architects and their clients.”
The Centre’s spacious interiors are shaped through the use of extensive glazing, precast concrete slab construction, and Gib-board timber-framed walls. A suite of wall and floor treatments helps to define and connect the different spaces and levels within the building.
Interior Components’ brief included a surface-mounted floor system that could adapt to different floor finishes – such as carpet, sheet vinyl, and polished concrete, as well as across multiple settings, including a ceremonial stairway.
“Interior Components has a wide range of inter-compatible systems, so it was easy to match them with the particular requirements of different areas, such as beveled edges to ensure pedestrian safety, or integrating floor seals with adjoining wall jointing systems while still achieving top quality sightlines and finishes.”
Crisp transitions and invisible seaming are major considerations in public buildings, in terms of aesthetic as well as heavy usage factors, but sealing systems must also meet strict criteria for loading, water-tightness, and seismic and thermal response.
John comments, “The J1100 series Foam Seal, for example, was a perfect match for the demands of the link between the Centre and Management Faculty, where we installed it both horizontally and vertically. It provides a completely waterproof seal and at the same time, accommodates 60% compression and 100% shear movement.”
Interior Components’ choice of its ‘pleated seal’ suspended ceiling system for the Centre, also reflects this approach. “The pleated seal is pivotal to the ceiling system’s proven integrity under duress,” John explains, “It enables the ceiling to accommodate fluid, thermal, and seismic movement, both lateral and ‘out of plane’, as well as the usual ‘work-a-day’ joint expansions and contractions that are caused by normal fluctuations in temperature and loading.”
“Most people just come in here and look up and think, “Wow! What a space!”, John concludes. “They’ve got no idea of the technology behind achieving that feel. And that’s how it should be – that’s our business!”