A Brave Design for the Future
A bold colour scheme and innovative architectural concept from the design team at Watts and Hughes offered an exciting series of challenges for the Topline Roofing team on the Freemans Bay School redevelopment. The end result, however, is definitely one to be proud of.
The project was more than just a refurbishment of a school – it has become the flagship for the future design of schools in New Zealand. Upon completion, over 70 of the Ministry of Educations’ key people toured the site and gave the design of the school their blessing.
There were 4 main stages or areas to the project – the main hall, the administration building, the library, and the new Learning Centre. The adventurous colour scheme reflects on elements of New Zealand’s native palette in hues such as Kowhai Glow, Tui Tuft, and Flax Pod. The design included bold, almost risqué, shapes and obtuse angles that tested boundaries, proved difficult to form, and was challenging to install, but the team came up with new ways to work with the product and achieved the desired result to perfection. Topline Roofing was responsible for planning, scheduling and installing the roof cladding and the daringly angled walls, which are the main features of the entire project.
In a project of this size and scope, with so many interesting challenges presented almost every day, the team formed close relationships with their collaborative partners. Many hours were spent going over plans, making sure every aspect was covered, ensuring the end result would be not only structurally sound but aesthetically impressive. It was a marriage of sorts, between the architect, main contractor, builders, and the Topline Roofing team, to understand each other and work together to achieve the desired level of quality and aesthetic.
They had to think outside the square – literally! The team's knowledge and experience in the industry meant that they were able to get intimate with the design plans to understand how to make the intricacies of the design work within the capabilities of the products. It was very much a learning curve as the design was so unique there was no way to measure it or gain ideas from another similar project – there simply wasn’t one.
“When you get challenges like this, the end result is always rewarding. And when over 70 of the top people in the Ministry visit the site and say, ‘This is our future. This is the flagship of where we want to be’, we knew we had achieved our goal.” Jeff Martin, Roofing Project Manager
Over the 18 months, Topline Roofing was involved in the project, nearly every one of the team spent time on-site – and they were needed! It was an immense undertaking with heavy cranes, a multitude of scaffolding, and Topline’s Trade Services Plumbing and Gasfitting team also on-site to install all the plumbing and gas services. The overall square meterage of the project was well over 4,000m2 so it really was a case of everyone pitching in to meet deadlines. Highly experienced at working in challenging situations, the Topline Roofing crew are a close-knit team who know how to handle unique environments. Even in circumstances such as the Freemans Bay School project where conditions and scope of works changed on a daily basis, the team mucked in and made it happen.
A Rewarding Outcome
The Freemans Bay School project has been a lesson in innovation and perseverance for Topline, testing their strengths to the limit and showing them that, as a team, they are capable of successfully designing, planning, implementing, and completing even the bravest of roofing and cladding designs. The scale of the project and the complexity of the architecture have shown that Topline Roofing can produce and deliver exceptional work regardless of scope. Their can-do attitude, the quality of their workmanship, and their inventive spirit on-site have won them more work through their collaborative partners on the project.
With the praise from the Ministry of Education, the joy in their new school from the Freemans Bay children and teachers, and more work coming in, this has been a very positive outcome all round for Topline Roofing.