Firth Declare labelled concrete key ingredient at Gisborne Airport  

With the newly built Gisborne Airport terminal now open, a beautifully polished concrete MegaFloor™ utilising Declare label Certified Concrete® from Aikens Concrete and Firth is the foundation that supports all the elements. 
Ewan Brown, Director from Tennent Brown Architects explains the background to the design and its meaning. “The building has two primary faces, landside and airside. The landside elevation represents the whare, ground based, and the airside represents the waka and the relationship to travel.”  
A series of twisted steel columns, angled towards Young Nick’s Head, resemble propellers whereas the airside, with its greater use of glazing, opens up to the sky and horizon beyond. The entrance lobbies transition into a spacious public concourse that includes a 42m long plywood Tahuhu designed by Sir Derek Lardelli.  

Sustainable and more …  
The design philosophy is also reflected in the materiality of the building. The landside is more ‘grounded’ and as such required a more earthy palette of materials such as the rammed earth walls (comprising of local Greywacke rock) and the specification of a highly polished concrete floor, due to its aesthetics, durability and sustainability, using earthy aggregates in warm tones. 
Sustainability is at the core of the building which has been designed to be Living Building Challenge (LBC) compliant. “The design process took quite some time and included in-depth research of every single material and it’s proposed use and, where possible, substitution of a product to help towards achieving a toxic free environment,” says Ewan.  “For instance we specified the use of Firth’s Declare label Certified Concrete® which is fully complaint under LBC requirements.”  


“Bernice Cumming, Firth’s Architectural Consultant was extremely helpful throughout the whole process,” adds Ewan. “She helped with everything we needed re the requirements of LBC. Not only was she able to assist with the Declare label for the mix we chose, after she hand carried sample cylinders for us in her airline hand luggage so we could choose, but she also researched and requested a special run on the RibRaft® HotEdge® system used on the foundation to ensure there was no fire retardant in the insulation used so it would conform with LBC requirements.”   
Whilst LBC certification was not pursued on the overall project, the key features of the building ensure that a three-petal certification could be achieved at a later date. 

That floor … 
“We wanted something to tie the two parts of the design together, the landside and airside, but for it to also be quite honest - a polished concrete floor with a decent sized aggregate that would be exposed,” adds Ewan. “We contacted MegaFloor™ as they have extensive experience in producing large polished concrete, commercial-use floors.”  
“There was quite a lead up to the actual pour for the floor as we worked to complete all the requirements under the Living Building Challenge,” says Jason Torbet, Director of Polished Concrete Ltd and MegaFloor. “In fact we learned a lot for future reference for floors under the LBC.” 

Jason says that the system chosen was a MegaFloor™  – High Street in a premium finish. “A premium finish is where the floor is not coated with any sealer and that the polish is mechanically produced which is far better for hard wearing areas such as an airport. Brett Hickersey, my Branch Manager in Tauranga and his team, did a really nice job of this floor. We’re really happy with it.”  

“The Polished Concrete team did an absolutely great job on the floor - we were really, really impressed with the end result,” adds Ewan.  
“I would like to thank Stephanie McClutchie and her team at Aitkens Concrete who pulled out all the stops to get the samples sorted on time and did an amazing job in working with the contractors McMillan Construction and the Polished Concrete team,” adds Bernice.  
“Everything we have heard about the terminal is very positive and the user experience is infinitely improved from what was there which is exactly what the client wanted.”   
The completed building opened on 30 September 2020, with finishing touches to be added over the following weeks. 
Principal: Gisborne District Council 
Client:  Eastland Group 
Architect: Tennent Brown, Wellington 
Location: Gisborne Airport  
Product:Firth Declare label Certified Concrete® and RibRaft® HotEdge®