Wai Ariki, meaning ‘chiefly waters’, is a luxury spa and wellness centre based on the shores of Lake Rotorua, New Zealand. Developed and owned by Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings Limited, the space brings Te Ao Māori to the fore, offering traditional practices and harnessing the benefits of the site’s geothermal waters long recognised by the elders of the iwi as having innate healing properties.

An Active Geothermal Field Poses a Unique Challenge

“The site sits on an active geothermal field,” explains Alex Liang, Associate Director – Architect, RCG. “Specification of the gas proof membrane below the floor slab was critical as it needed to stop the corrosive sulphur gas and water in the ground from attacking the concrete.”

With geothermal pools being central to Wai Ariki’s spa experience, the RCG team had a big task on their hands to ensure effective waterproofing of wet areas and tiling throughout. Having worked with ARDEX successfully in the past, they turned to the ARDEX team again to specify trusted and compatible systems that would ensure longevity for Wai Ariki.

ARDEX New Zealand Offers Specializes Solutions

ARDEX WPM 1500 membrane was installed across the 7000m2 site by Holmac NZ Ltd. WPM 1500 is a specialist tanking and gas barrier manufactured by ARDEX New Zealand and designed and tested specifically for use in geothermal regions.

Over 3000m2 of tiling was installed by The Tile People, using ARDEX WPM 002 — a liquid waterproofing membrane on floors, floor channels, swimming pools and shower areas; ARDEX X 10 tile adhesive was used for tiled walls; and ARDEX X 18, an extremely strong fibre reinforced tile adhesive was ideal for steam rooms. ARDEX EG 15 high performance Epoxy Grout was used for the glass mosaics within pools as it does not discolour and externally ARDEX RA 030 was used between panel joints to provide a waterproof seal, while ARDEX WPM 163 was applied to the keep precast concrete panels pristine.

Recently opened, Wai Ariki is an exciting new development for Rotorua that is set to provide opportunities in the region for generations. “Wai Ariki is not only the most significant spa development in Aotearoa for more than 100 years, but also one of only a handful of indigenous-owned operations in the world,” says Alex. “For an architect, designing a spa complex like Wai Ariki Spa is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are grateful for what we have achieved together with our client.”

(Photo credits: Jono Parker)

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