Christchurch Arts Centre - Block C

Structural Designer

Holmes Consulting

Client Name

Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust Board

Location

Christchurch, New Zealand

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Fletcher Construction Company

ARCHITECT: Warren & Mahoney

KEY TEAM MEMBER: Fletcher Construction

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Arts Centre of Christchurch is a locally, nationally and internationally significant set of heritage buildings, which gained even more significance as the devastating earthquakes of 2011 irreparably destroyed so many other parts of the city’s built heritage. The repair, restoration, strengthening and conservation of these historic buildings was an extremely complex task from a structural point of view, with each separate structure presenting its own set of challenges and demands. To compound the technical difficulties of the site, variability of construction materials and the extent of the damage, the structural strengthening elements need to be ‘invisible’ as far as possible, in order to preserve the unique and precious heritage features.

Judge's comment:

The judges were impressed by the intricate detail and meticulous nature of the restoration of this Arts Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. The building suffered varying degrees of damage during the 2011 earthquake and required initial assessment of the levels of damage to the existing stonework structure. The challenge of strengthening the existing structure was compounded by a desire to minimise the visible impact of the works. All aspects of the building structure required detailed, bespoke solutions to sensitively restore the structure, whilst concealing these within the existing fabric of the building.

An intricate use of various structural materials was required to efficiently complete the works and satisfy the stringent requirements. The innovative solutions highlighted to the judges that the engineering team exhibited a deep understanding of the efficiency of the materials and knowledge of the challenges in each specific situation. This was all carried out extremely sensitively, bringing new life to a cherished building.