The plans for the Performing Arts Centre at St Cuthbert’s College drew consent issues right from the start. Located in the heart of the up-market oak-lined Cornwall Park residential neighbourhood, this building was planned for the edge of the property right next to the main road. It had to blend in perfectly with the surrounding homes and landscape to pass approval.
Key to minimizing the impact of the project was the exterior silhouette and the choice of materials used. The architects gave it a traditional roofline, with double apex, and clad the building in dark metals and stone. The net result was a building which look not unlike the neighbouring villas, and drew design cues from Mount Saint Johns which it overlooks.
Metal Design Solutions was commissioned to provide the exterior cladding, which was to be finished in colorsteel. They’d chosen the ever-popular “Ironsand” colour – a rich dark brown that reflects the volcanic land it’s situated on – and we finished the building using a random angle seam.
The complexity in this job came from the fact it was a big building that resembled a lot of small buildings. And there were a number of idiosyncracies which needed to be planned out carefully in the factory prior to fabricating the panels.
In order to minimize the impact of the building the architects had broken up the lengthy side walls, giving a multi faceted finish with many smaller (homestead style) bays and windows. The finishing was more like you’d find on a home (or series of homes) than a building of this size, and every angle and seam had to be perfect. And most important, they needed to be fitted and flashed, within a very tight time envelope.
The building also featured a curved entranceway, which would have a lot of foot traffic passing every day. This needed to be precisely fabricated and fitted to ensure it was resilient to the knocks and scrapes which were sure to follow. And with our panels blending into exposed wood or stone, we had to be employ a variety of techniques to ensure a clean watertight finish.
While many jobs we’ve done have been bigger and more complex, this prestigious project was arguably one of the most unusual. It’s an emotional project, with an upmarket community invested in it’s form and function. And it will serve as a reminder to future generations of the style and class of this generation. We’re proud to be a part of this project, and will enjoy reflecting back on it in decades to come.