The Smales Farm facade louver system is a fantastic example of a tensioned facade that is both aesthetic and functional. It responds to its context with an aesthetic and functional passive solar design for today’s climate.
The Q4 Office building is part of the Smales Farm Technology Park, which is located on Auckland’s north shore. The three-story building is featured prominently as the social hub of the park, with the lower floor hosting retail and food outlets.
Smales Farm is one of the largest technology parks in the country, and the Q4 building was recipient of the NZIA Auckland Architecture Award in 2008. Designed by Peddle Thorp Architects, the building responds to its context with sweeping views of the site and surrounding region.
It is this same treatment that enables the building to interact with its users and neighbouring buildings. The brief for Q4 had strict environmental performers placed upon it to ensure that it added to its surroundings, but didn’t detract from these in the long term.
Balancing the issues of connection and context with that of environmental responsibility typically presents a challenge of juxtaposition for architects. The design response usually involves large expanses of glass, which reduce a building’s thermal performance through heat loss and gain.
In Q4’s case, these issues are cleverly balanced. Heat loss is considered with the application of specialised glass, which limits heat transference from inside to out. Heat gain is limited through passive solar design. The passive element comes in the form of a facade louver system comprised of Ronstan Architectural ACS2 cables and timber panels.
The timber is positioned on the cables with Ronstan cable clamps. Structural cables are a perfect choice where maximum strength and minimum diameter supports are required; the cables carefully engineered and tensioned to limit movement from wind loads.