The Sylvia Car Park comes to life.

Sylvia Park SEM Car Park Comes Alive with Locker Aluminium


Sylvia Park is one of the premier shopping centres in New Zealand. With more than 200 retail stores along with a grocery store, cinema and other amenities, it offers something for every visitor. The area also serves as a business park, and there is plenty of open land available for additional development in the future.

The shopping centre sits in the Auckland suburb of Mount Wellington, easily accessible to the more than 1.6 million residents of the region. While connections to the area’s public transit network mean not every shopper arrives by car, Sylvia Park must provide parking for a substantial number of visitors each and every day it opens.

The perforated aluminium panels came together to provide a stunning facade for the Sylvia ParkSEM car park.The perforated aluminium panels came together to provide a stunning facade for the Sylvia ParkSEM car park.

Project background

Sylvia Park needed to comfortably provide access to shoppers in the run-up to the 2019 holiday shopping season. With large crowds expected during that period specifically, and a general need to provide safe and effective parking, the company had to increase the number of spots available for shoppers. The project that emerged to address this need was the Sylvia Park South Eastern Multideck (SEM) car park.

The plans for the new structure called for five levels with enough space to accommodate 900 vehicles. The design is state of the art, incorporating new technologies for traffic management that improve safety and the flow of shoppers into and out of the building to make the entire shopping experience from arrival to departure as enjoyable as possible. Locker played a key role in the successful completion of the project. We provided perforated aluminium panels that address core needs for car parks related to natural light, air flow and temperature control.

The blue and green colour scheme starts to come alive as night falls and the lighting systemactivates.The blue and green colour scheme starts to come alive as night falls and the lighting systemactivates.

Unique design and functional considerations

Our New Zealand branch office and facilities led the way in producing the perforated aluminium panels necessary to complete the Sylvia Park SEM. Despite the need to carefully fabricate the panels to create a clean and cohesive visual identity, using multiple variations in the perforation hole size, our team performed admirably under pressure.

One major consideration was precise engineering and planning to ensure the individual panels would reliably and closely fit together. This part of the process involved extensive collaboration with drafters through the very end of the project to ensure a uniform appearance. It also required the development of a range of samples and resultant trials to arrive at a design and structure that pleased all major stakeholders and met key project requirements.

The coating used on the perforated aluminium panels may be the single most identifiable factor for employees and shoppers at Sylvia Park who use the garage. The two-tone blue and green colour scheme stands out during the daytime without overpowering the surrounding area, creating a sense of harmony. At night, lights illuminate the panels to increase visibility and provide a new and engaging visual experience for those who visit, shop and work in the area.

The powder coating colours were made to order and proved to be a smashing success from the very beginning. The stakeholders all agreed to move forward with the first samples, making one of the last steps of producing the finished perforated aluminium panels one of the easiest.

While visual appearance plays a crucial role in the identity of any structure, the panels we created for Sylvia Park also needed to address some issues common to car parks. Air flow is vital for removing carbon dioxide while maintaining as comfortable and safe a temperature as possible throughout the year. Perforated aluminium allows for effective exchange of air while providing a useful degree of visibility.

Similarly, access to natural light makes a space more enjoyable, even a transitional one, such as a car park. It also provides a quick reference point to weather conditions and the general state of the outside world. Perforated aluminium provides this necessary element while also discouraging wildlife from entering the structure.

Cooperation: A vital tool for a successful final product

As is so often the case with major construction projects, Locker worked alongside a variety of partners that all played major roles in designing, constructing and completing the Sylvia Park SEM car park:

  • Leading New Zealand commercial construction company Naylor Love served as the general contractor.
  • International architecture and design firm Buchan Group filled the architect role.
  • New Zealand-based Design Production, a design fabrication specialist, installed the perforated aluminium panels. Our relationship with Design Production introduced us to this project.

Along with these major stakeholders, we subcontracted the design portion of the project out to a Perth-based group as a value-added service. We also subcontracted parts of the engineering design work to provide the best support possible for Design Production to fix the perforated aluminium panels to the substructure.

The final arrangement of the panels created an aesthetically pleasing and engaging exterior.The final arrangement of the panels created an aesthetically pleasing and engaging exterior.

A major undertaking

Despite a number of challenges, including an especially short turnaround time for creating and delivering the 1,600 square metres of panels required for the car park, we and all of the other stakeholders worked together to ensure a complete, safe, attractive and successful final product.

The Sylvia Park SEM car park received final sign-off just weeks before Christmas 2019, but was operational in time to help the shopping centre alleviate stress on current parking facilities. It provided an easily accessible and secure area for customers to park and continues to do so.

At Locker, we pride ourselves on our ability to collaborate effectively on major projects with a variety of stakeholders. We do so while consistently providing top-quality perforated metals, woven wire, expanded metals and a range of related products in a variety of configurations for architectural, industrial, mine and quarry use. To learn more about how our experienced team can support your next project with dependable, durable and visually impressive solutions, get in touch with us today.

Metal mesh has many industrial applications.

Not just for safe flooring: 4 uses of expanded metal

Expanded metal is a versatile, reliable and long-lasting material that can help promote safety in a wide range of industrial contexts. When your organisation chooses expanded metal for future projects, they know they can count on it for many years to come.

When discussing the specific uses of expanded metal, flooring and walkways often come to mind. The process of expanding metal – stamping or cutting, then stretching to form a pattern – helps the material retain its strength and improve its rigidity even as it becomes lighter and easier to handle. Walkways made of expanded metal can be counted on to support workers as they go about their daily tasks while also providing ventilation and allowing more light to pass through to areas below.

However, there are a variety of other industrial needs that expanded metal can help to address. Consider these examples as you plan your next project:

Safety in car parks

Car parks are often designed as semi-enclosed structures, with openings on each level and an exposed top floor. This provides a clear benefit in terms of avoiding the possibly dangerous buildup of vehicle exhaust, but it also leaves a large opening between the levels of the car park and the surface below. On higher levels, this can prove to be a serious safety risk for those who use the car park. On lower levels, large openings may entice those with nefarious intentions to enter the structure.

Expanded metal maintains the ventilation benefits of open car parks, while protecting those inside from an accidental stumble or fall over the barriers on each level and reducing the possibility of unauthorised access from the exterior. This simple and effective addition can go a long way to improving safety without drastically altering the necessary functions of the structure.

Security doors

In some cases, a solid door is the best choice for security in terms of maintaining a solid barrier that can't easily be seen through. In other situations, increased visibility is vital and a solid door simply isn't an option.

A security door made of expanded metal allows for two-way visibility. Whether staff have to visually confirm that nothing has been disturbed in a secure area as part of their duties or need to see anyone approaching a nearby entrance point before allowing them inside, expanded metal can address such needs. Expanded metal's high degree of strength and rigidity makes it a dependable choice, protecting the area behind the door from unauthorised entry even as it boosts visibility.

Fencing for rural areas

There are a wide range of fencing options for less-populated areas, but they're not all equal when it comes to effectiveness. Keeping homes, farms, livestock and large plots of land safe from wild animals looking for their next meal is absolutely critical. This is another area where the strength, rigidity and dependability of expanded metal can come in handy.

Using agricultural expanded metal as fencing offers a powerful combination of protection, visibility and durability, even when facing the toughest challenges that nature has to offer. It helps keep livestock in and predators and pests out. Additionally, it allows those on the property to easily see the area outside the farm or other operation, even when fencing has to be especially tall for effective protection. And there's no risk of the fence fraying or unravelling, since each panel is composed of one solid piece of metal.

A metal mesh fence in front of a building.Expanded metal mesh can serve as effective fencing in high-security environments.

Sensitive and high-security environments

In some contexts, a high degree of security is the most important attribute of a facility or campus. Prisons, high-security laboratories and many similar buildings where effective barriers to the outside world are needed can benefit greatly from the right application of expanded metal.

Locker worked with the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services to develop expanded security mesh, which is now used at facilities throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Specific features, such as small diamond cut used when crafting the expanded metal, discourage escape attempts by making them more difficult. Additionally, cowling or razor tape can easily be added to the top of the fencing, further complicating any efforts to scale the fence. And its durability means it can be counted on to provide effective protection for many years to come.

A local, helpful and experienced provider of expanded metal

Locker is an Australian company, producing our expanded metal and many other products domestically. That means you work with experienced, knowledgeable Australians who have a strong understanding of the needs that lead businesses to select expanded metal. To learn more, get in touch with us today.