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Sulco Tools headquarters


From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery — Corner of Plunket Ave and Orb Road, Wiri

This building has transformed from a tired old soldier into a bustling brute.

Sulco exterior

Sulco is primarily involved with the sale and service of the automotive industry through the supply of tools and equipment with many other minor distribution franchises. Sulco has consolidated two existing sites, operating two separate divisions, into a new site in Manukau. The purchased building had its last alterations completed in the 1970s, and needed a major refurbishment.

Strong and contrasting Cor-ten and stainless steel were used to organise the building. We have used the stainless steel to identify the entry points to the building’s showroom and main office, along with large cantilevered canopies. The soffits and façade of the entries are lined in stainless steel with safety perforated sheets. The main part of the office building is clad with a screw fixed Cor-ten rain screen.

Green interior
Red factory walls

The existing office space had an extremely low ground floor ceiling height at a little over 2250mm. Two strategies were used to fix this: firstly opening up a void within this area, and secondly reconstructing the existing dummy, creaky timber floor using a concrete ‘Speed Floor’ system. The structure was left exposed to give a more voluminous feel, and the holes in the Speed Floor joists allow services to run through. This also reduced the sound transfer from upstairs. Although creating a void lost 25 square metres of upper floor area, it allowed all administration staff and reception to stay on the ground floor, effectively gaining an extra 100 square metres. There was a two storey block wall that was removed from the original foyer and the upper floor ceiling was raised from the standard 2600mm to 5000mm. This was also punctuated with an 1800mm x 1800mm double skinned skylight. By raising the ceiling and running the air conditioning around the perimeter, we have created a flexible open plan workspace.

The exterior walls to the upper floor office were completely rebuilt with an Eterpan cavity system and a steel rain screen over this. A continuous expressed steel reveal surrounds each office window, with acoustic laminated glass to improve the acoustics. As the office is on an airport flight path, R2.6 insulation was installed and a solid ply ceiling also added to the acoustic performance. Perforated acoustic ceiling tiles were used in all enclosed offices and solid full height partitions also reduced exterior noise penetrating the building, by a baffle effect.

The warehouse is divided into two operations: one for small tools and the other for large scale equipment such as hoists, diagnostics and calibration equipment. The small tool and large equipment showrooms sit side by side, separated by a fibreglass and glass partition. This enables the display of Sulco’s full range of products and services. The warehouse has a series of pods for different services and operations. These are brightly colour coded for easy identification. They are also clad above 1200mm with fibreglass panels to maximise the natural light from the main warehouse roof.

This building has a primary roof span and two ‘lean-to’ spans enabling a variey of product to be stored efficiently, either up to 2400mm or up to 3500mm in the main space. The building is landscaped with simple blocks of succulents, complementing the arid, raw and structured nature of the building. This building has transformed from a tired old soldier into a bustling brute.

Colours used: Resene Bright Red, Resene Double Barista, Resene La Rioja, Resene Lochmara, Resene Peanut, Resene Turbo, Resene Westar.

Products used: Resene decorative paints.

Architectural Specifier: Xsite Architects
Building Contractor: Milestone Group
Interior Designer: Xsite Architects
Painting Contractor: Executive Painting and Decorating
Photographer: Malcolm Taylor and Rowan Murray

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Resene Total Colour Awards gallery

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