Simple yet sophisticated

October 2021

An award-winning Marlborough wine research facility used Altherm facade systems and thermally efficient windows in a building that NZIA judges described as simple in form but sophisticated in functionality.

The Bragato Research Institute, established by wine industry body, NZ Winegrowers, received a local award for Commercial Architecture in the 2021 Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects awards programme sponsored by APL Window Solutions and Resene.

Designed by Jerram Tocker Barron Architects, the Blenheim research winery is named after Italian viticulturist, Romeo Bragato, who came to New Zealand in 1902 as an advisor to government on colonial-era winegrowing. The facility has been established to provide trials, research, new technologies and processes along with demonstrating a model for how wineries can operate sustainably.

The building is aiming for a 5-Green Star rating, which, if certified, will be a first for the Marlborough Region. JTB Architects is Green Star-accredited and has designed a number of features into the project — solar photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting, rainwater soakage to ground, greywater recycled CIP technology, daylight harvesting, passive ventilation and high-performance insulation.

Adding to the sustainability features were opening windows from APL’s Metro Series ThermalHEART range which are operated automatically by climate sensing technology. A total of 38 electronic actuators drive these windows, which were installed by Altherm Windows manufacturer, Design Windows Nelson. Design Windows also supplied the full-height facade on the front elevation of the building with its dramatic, raking, monopitch roofline. This was constructed from APL’s 125mm Flushglaze commercial suite and was repeated again internally as an interior partition separating a meeting space from the large factory installation.

The computerised environmental management system monitors and adjusts energy, heating and lighting, along with water and air quality. This integrated, multi-faceted design approach impressed the NZIA jury: “It is admirable to see an architect so knowledgeable about the environmental impacts of their design and how these have been worked through”.

Other Altherm products included in the Bragato Research Institute included Magnum sliding and hinged doors. Clear double glazing was used and the surface finish for the aluminium profiles was Duralloy Metro Coal Dust.

The builder was Scott Construction Marlborough.