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Developer: Kāinga Ora
Architect: Isthmus
Location: Lower Hutt Wellington
Service Type: Facade Engineering

Epuni represents a comprehensive community redevelopment initiative situated in the Lower Hutt valley, encompassing a land area of 9,333m² adjacent to the Epuni Station. The pre-existing landscape comprised standalone houses from the 1950s era. The redevelopment, driven by an imperative to meet the escalating demand for social housing in the region, aims to optimize site yield and provide safe, contemporary housing for a greater number of individuals, thereby revitalizing the core of the suburb. The client's directive emphasized simplicity and the minimization of complexity in design. The architect, in response to this, strategically explored avenues to standardize, refine, and introduce repetition without compromising the unique identity of each block. Early engagement with the contractor during the design phase facilitated crucial insights into the project's buildability. A collaborative effort identified opportunities to prefabricate elements, such as floor cassettes, streamlining the construction process by minimizing unique elements and restricting the variety of claddings, ultimately expediting the construction timeline.

The resulting architectural expression is characterized by sophistication and refinement, harmonized by a cohesive landscape and shared building elements. Community consultation workshops played a pivotal role, engaging Kāinga Ora stakeholders and community service providers to glean invaluable insights into the needs and desires of prospective residents. This community-centric approach encouraged the project team to extend their focus beyond individual housing units to include the shared spaces between buildings. The resultant landscapes are envisaged as interactive areas fostering connection and shared experiences among residents across the entire development.

DESIGN ENGINEERS, in partnership with INSOL, have actively engaged in providing a comprehensive louvre engineering PS1 package to fortify their louvre design initiatives. Our involvement encompassed a meticulous assessment of the aluminum louvre screen system, specifically focusing on the verification of strength and deflection. This rigorous examination ensures that the louvre blade meets the stringent criteria for structural integrity and performance.

Our engineering expertise extended further to the execution of a detailed louvre span check, evaluating the resilience of the louvre against wind loading and potential human impact. This comprehensive assessment plays a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity and safety of the louvre under diverse environmental conditions. Simultaneously, we delved into the intricate details of louvre connection applications, providing valuable insights to enhance the overall performance and lifespan of the louvre system.

In our commitment to a holistic engineering approach, we conducted a meticulous review and offered engineering input for louvre fixings. This involved a nuanced examination of the fixings to ensure their efficacy and compliance with established engineering standards. Additionally, our collaboration with INSOL extended to the critical task of selecting an appropriate louvre system in alignment with industry codes and standards, meeting specified strength and deflection criteria. The chosen louvre system was selected not only for its capacity to resist out-of-plane wind loading but also to accommodate in-plane seismic racking, effectively mitigating the risk of louvre failure during seismic events. Special attention was given to the compatibility of louvre with the fixing substrates, necessitating careful design considerations to manage and minimize the potential risk of louvre failure.

Our collaboration with INSOL underscores a dedication to precision engineering, ensuring that every aspect of the louvre system is meticulously designed, verified, and aligned with the highest industry standards. This approach aims to deliver not only aesthetically pleasing designs but also robust and resilient structures that exemplify excellence in engineering.


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