Austratus Timber Ceiling Adds Flair
to New Innovation Complex

The striking timber batten ceiling designed by Athfield Architects reflects the activity, connectivity and movement within Massey University’s newest building.

The Massey Innovation Complex is a new state-of-the-art building on Massey University’s Albany campus. Designed by Athfield Architects, the complex features labs, teaching and seminar spaces, staff offices, and a café. The interior fit-out was focused around creating spaces that are flexible, functional and engaging to meet the client’s vision for “a lively visible nexus of research and learning.” Potter Interior Systems were pleased to contribute to the design with their Austratus Timber Ceiling System and Aluminium Partitions.

In corridors, shared spaces and other circulation areas of the building, the architects needed a smart solution for ceilings that would conceal services while adding visual interest to the space. The Austratus Timber Ceiling System fit this brief, with fins able to be installed at custom intervals to meet service and design requirements, while bringing an eye-catching touch of timber to the space.

“The Austratus slatted timber ceiling system was chosen for the interior ceiling circulation spaces and café to primarily provide an aesthetic acoustic solution to the suspended ceilings,” explains the Athfield Architects Project Team. “Concealing the extensive services within the ceiling void, the timber fins complement and balance the other materials in the space by bringing in warmth and visual interest.”

To ensure protection from fire for the lifetime of the timber, the Austratus fins were treated with Zone Architectural Products’ FireZone Vanguard prior to installation to achieve a Group 1-S fire rating. Unlike intumescent coatings which require maintenance and can absorb moisture, this all natural, non-toxic and low VOC system penetrates the timber cells with a fire retardant treatment, making it a no maintenance solution — all while preserving the natural finish of the timber. In total almost 10,000LM of Austratus timber fins were fire-treated and delivered to site, ready for installation by the Alpha Auckland team.

A high level of detail was required during installation due to the complexity of the ceiling which encompasses extensive services. “As the ceiling is such a feature of these circulation spaces it was important to get the installation right,” explains the Athfield Architects Project Team. “Strict on-site coordination was required and managed by Athfield and Southbase, with all the sub-trades working together to achieve a good tidy result.”

“Slat arrangements were designed to reflect activity, connectivity, and movement in the areas,” adds the Athfield Architects Project Team — a design intent that is clearly communicated in the meticulous end result.

Potter Interiors also supplied aluminium partitioning for the project, with A Series 132 and E Series 132 partitions powder coated in Matt Ironsand specified. The partitions play a key role in ensuring acoustic privacy while providing visibility to labs. “The glazed partitions were selected and designed to provide visual links between the labs and the wider campus, showcasing the technology and innovation happening within while providing long views through the internalised areas of the labs and out to the surrounding bush that borders the site of the IC building,” says the Athfield Architects Project Team.

And in areas where additional acoustic performance was required, such as study spaces, Potter Interiors supplied suspended AMF Heradesign superfine ceiling tiles from the manufacturer AMF together with locally made Rondo Donn grid.

Together, the Austratus Timber Ceilings, Aluminium Partitions and AMF Heradesign ceiling tiles from Potters have contributed to a striking design by Athfield Architects that firmly grounds the Massey Innovation Complex as a space for innovation, research and learning.

“Overall, we are happy with the result,” says the Athfield Architects Project Team. “We found the Potter Interiors Team to be easy to communicate with, supportive of any adjustments and they followed through with delivering a successful installation programme.”

“The Austratus ceilings create a positive visual impact on the circulation spaces, enabling timber to be incorporated into the interior scheme. And the aluminium partitions allowed the creation of connectivity through the campus as well as meeting acoustic and separation requirements.”

Architect: Athfield Architects
Main Contractor: Southbase Construction
Austratus Installer: Alpha Auckland Limited
Potter Interiors Products: Austratus Timber Ceilings, A Series 132 and E Series 132 Aluminium Partitions, and AMF Heradesign superfine ceiling tiles
Fire Treatment: Zone Vanguard
Photography: Mark Scowen

© Potter Interior Systems 2024

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