Winner 2021

The Supreme Award For Structural Engineering Excellence

Award for
Structural Heritage

Project Description

A project to repair and strengthen a town hall following devastating earthquakes. Significant portions of the structure were upgraded, repaired and restored. Other areas underwent a complete rebuild. High-end analysis minimised the strengthening work required for the superstructure. On completion, the town hall achieved a 100% New Building Standard rating.

Judge’s comments

Acclaimed for its architecture and acoustics, Christchurch Town Hall is a local landmark. Following devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the original building required significant structural repair and strengthening of the supporting foundations.

This conservation project demanded a full spectrum of technically complex structural and geotechnical solutions. Solving ground stabilisation issues and predicting the future performance of the structure and foundations were achieved through detailed analysis and intensive co-ordination between the geotechnical and structural engineers. Complex analysis was employed to minimise the strengthening work required for the superstructure. The result preserves the original character and style of the building and protects the existing fabric - a positive both for sustainability and the client.

This project is an excellent example of what structural engineers can bring to a devastated existing building. By understanding its behaviour and failure, the team was able to repair and preserve this important structure.

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • Holmes Consulting LP

Client Name

  • Christchurch City Council


  • Christchurch, New Zealand


  • Warren and Mahoney (WAM)

Principal Contractor

  • Hawkins

Key Contractors

  • Tonkin and Taylor Ltd - Senior Geotechnical Engineer

    Rider Levett Bucknall - Commercial Manager

Year Submitted

  • 2021

Submitted By

  • Holmes Consulting LP