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Alpha Apartments, Wellington

Fabricator Nebulite Palmerston North

Location Wellington

Systems Pacific Architectural, Atlantic48™, Baltic Shopfront 106, Baltic Flushglaze 106, 136, 159

Products EuroStacker™ doors, Fixed & Awning windows

Industry Sector Residential

Architect / Designer Novak+ Middleton

The brief

The three-dimensional articulation of Wellington’s Alpha Apartment complex meant this structure was always going to have a distinctive architectural identity.

Featuring 26 high-end residences and a ground floor that contains a dynamic commercial shopping area, Alpha Apartments is an exciting addition to the capital’s inner city area.

Award-winning architects Novak+ Middleton designed the building to have a neighbourly feel, with only four apartments per floor, and two additional penthouses.

Windows and glass doors give the apartments a sweeping view of the city and surrounding landscape, thanks to products supplied by Altus Window Systems Fabricator; Nebulite Palmerston North. These units were specifically selected by the architect, in consultation with the Altus Window Systems Technical team.

The project

The majority of Alpha’s apartment windows use the Pacific Architectural system, featuring the Eurostacker™ balcony doors. The Altus Window Systems team recommended this system because it offers superior looks and strength for its price compared to similar windows and doors on the market. This matched Novak+ Middleton’s design which mitigates the effects of Wellington’s infamous winds and weather conditions, these attributes being of vital importance.

Strength considerations were even more important for the penthouse apartments. In addition to coping with the increased wind loads associated from greater elevation, the products used were taller, making use of the high stud, standing at 2.8 metres. Here the architect selected the Atlantic48 system, and both 106 and 159 Atlantic48™ multi-stacking doors. Products from this range are known for their strong looks and resilience - with a performance expectation beyond 3000 pa.

On the top level, one penthouse apartment had a large single pane skylight fitted which took eight people to lift into position. On the ground floor, the Baltic Flushglaze 136 system was chosen for the windows. As well as having the strength needed to support the 3-metre-high panes, this system was chosen for aesthetic reasons: Having windows flush with street level was in keeping with the modern, clean-lined look of the structure as a whole.    

The challenges

Situated on a busy intersection in downtown Wellington, with no construction parking available, one of the principal challenges for the Nebulite team was moving the windows and doors into position. In particular, getting the larger Atlantic windows and sliding doors up to the eighth floor penthouse apartments required substantial forethought and planning.

The Nebulite team worked closely with builders to time each delivery so that they could be craned into position directly from the truck and trailer. When the crane wasn’t in operation, it was collaboration and more importantly communication, that enabled the movement of windows and doors into position via the construction elevator platform.

There was also a fantastic working relationship between Nebulite and the architect, with the former suggesting ideas to overcome obstacles in the construction that were well received.

The outcome

From the cut-outs in the roof to the open commercial space of the ground floor, Wellington’s Alpha Apartments are functional and artistic in equal measures.

The sheer size of the windows and doors used in the design of this complex means that those who call these apartments home will benefit from a light and airy feeling, even when the doors to their decks are closed.

This project exemplifies how a clear vision, combined with the right products and a healthy dose of teamwork, can produce the desired result - even on a challenging project.