by Locker Group

One of the hallmarks of metal is its versatility in design. Because it can be shaped and hewn into so many different forms, metal can be utilised for a variety of architectural products, from curtains to perforated screens.

So when architecture firm Fearon Hay was tasked with creating a multi-functional event centre for the quickly developing Auckland Airport in New Zealand, it was only natural they looked to metal as the design solution – and that their first port of call was Locker Group.

The end product was Te Kaitaka, or "The Cloak" – a public space whose striking historically and culturally conscious design has already caught the eye of architects the world over.

Creating a space in New Zealand's image

As part of the brief, the finished product was required to fulfill a number of functional standards, such as flexibility and being able to serve as the nerve center for meetings and events related to the developing airport precinct in which it was situated.

But more than this, the design also had to reflect New Zealand's cultural values and commitment to sustainability.

New Zealand is famous the world over for its "clean and green" image, as well as its close relationship with nature. One need only take a short drive through the Auckland Airport and its surrounding precincts to see this commitment in the flesh. Green spaces, fields and rivers are scattered throughout the area, and the long drive down George Bolt Memorial Drive offers a stunning view of south Auckland's beautiful scenery, with the famous Butterfly Creek a short drive away.

But New Zealand is also known for its rich cultural heritage, with many of its existing public spaces reflecting centuries of its indigenous Maori history and unique iconography. The question for Fearon Hay was how to imbue the design with these principles.

Metal products the key

The finished design incorporated a contoured living and growing roof over timber framing, helping to cool the building while also creating a visually interesting composition and tying it into New Zealand's "100 per cent pure" image. Supporting this unique design was the woven wire cloaking the "shoulders" of the building – hence the name.

Locker Group's Transit 362 brass panels were the ideal product for this design. Draped over a skeleton steel structure and attached by tie wires, the finished design was made to resemble the flax fiber weaving traditionally used for Maori cloaks, thanks to its fabric-like texture.

Thus, in one fell swoop, thanks to Locker Group's range of Transit metal products, Auckland Airport now has a new public space that will continue to reflect the country's values for years to​ come.

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