University of Auckland: Maclaurin Chapel, Window Condition Assessment
The University of Auckland’s Maclaurin Chapel in Princes Street was designed in 1964 by the renowned Gummer and Ford practice. It was the result of a 1947 gift from Sir William Goodfellow for the construction of a chapel in memory of his son, Lt Richard Maclaurin Goodfellow, killed in WWII. Identified as Category B on the Auckland City schedule of heritage buildings, the Chapel is subject to statutory protection.
Following a series of building fabric failures in 2010, Salmond Reed was commissioned to carry out a building condition assessment of the roof, external walls, windows and doors.
The building is constructed from reinforced concrete, employing various textured finishes – plain concrete, smooth and fine-textured render (incorporating mica flakes that reflect in sunlight), and exposed aggregate. The roofs and spire are covered with copper sheet. The principal design element of the building is the Chapel window arrangement constructed along the east and west sides of the hexagonal plan form, using deep parallel laminated timber mullions with an innovative direct-bonded sheet foil cladding.
Regular spillage from the blocked copper overflows was
evidenced in the heavy staining and moss growth on the rendered exterior
concrete wall surfaces.
The aluminium foil cladding to the Chapel’s window bays was found to be either heavily buckled or completely detaching due to failure of the adhesive and a thin coat of white paint to the foil (possibly not originally intended to be painted) had deteriorated with significant areas of flaking.
Salmond Reed’s report recommended a series of remedial measures split between maintenance (repainting, clearing blocked gutters, cleaning wall staining, internal redecoration, etc ), and repair (making good splits in copper sheet roofing, replacing decayed timber, dealing with corrosion in concrete reinforcement and the replacement of the damaged foil claddings to the timber window mullions). Since a modern replacement cladding, such as Alucobond, was considered inappropriate for a building of heritage status, Salmond Reed instead sourced a similar thickness of foil available in long rolls which proved a perfect match for the existing material – a like for like repair – and recommended suitable methods of bonding to avoid earlier problems.
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