Durable terracotta tiles provide thermal performance, a warm aesthetic and low maintenance on a luxury apartment block.

Sited in Auckland’s 12-hectare Pakuranga Park, the distinctive four-storey façade of Ruru Apartments is clad in Terreal Terracotta tiled panels combined with metallic grey Alucolux, a residential aesthetic that lends itself to its suburban location between Farm Cove and Lloyd Elsmore Park.

Symonite was engaged for design and engineering services, including detailing and producing shop drawings. ‘The architects wanted premium façade panels, without compromising on the design,’ explains Symonite project manager Jimmy David. ‘So we used a high-performance product with a clean, modern finish and the appeal of an authentic aluminium and terracotta look.’


Addressing the New Zealand environment

Cutting-edge production techniques and industry-leading performance equip the product for New Zealand’s extreme environments, including high winds and humidity. Terreal Terracotta contributes to the building’s energy efficiency by creating a high thermal mass that absorbs, stores and releases heat as required. Available in myriad shades and finishes, it also gave the team plenty of design options.

A key advantage of Terreal is that it is kind to the environment and relatively fast to install, so long as walls are square. ‘It’s cut with a table wet saw by one person with a mask, so there is minimal dust created during its installation,’ says David.


Joining different cladding types

It was important for the team to carefully detail the junctions between the different cladding products to ensure a seamless and attractive finish, so Symonite was proactive in briefing the contractor and suppliers. ‘They would anticipate what was needed

and come straight to me with any issues so we could address them promptly,’ says John Pye, project manager at Gibson O’Connor Construction. ‘We resolved any issues between us, whether it be to add more fixings or fine-tune the design.’ This high degree of coordination ensured that the fixings were structurally sound, attractive and weatherproof.


Teamwork the key

Communication between the teams was crucial. ’I can’t speak highly enough about Symonite’s boys on site,’ says Pye. ‘They were all good fixers – I trusted them and didn’t need to spend every five minutes looking over my shoulder. Symonite’s project managers were also very good and we got on well. The end result is a very interesting building with plenty of character in its shape and use of different materials, so I’m very proud of it.’




Project: Ruru Apartments – Fortune Road, Pakuranga
Main Contractor: Gibson O’Connor Construction
Completed: 2021
Photographer: Intense Photography
Writer: Folio




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