Seismic Strengthening of the Majestic Centre

Structural Designer

Holmes Consulting

Client Name

Kiwi Property Group

Location

Wellington, New Zealand

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Fletcher Construction     

ARCHITECT: Opus Architecture            

PROJECT MANAGER: The Building Intelligence Group

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Majestic Centre is an iconic landmark in the centre of Wellington, New Zealand. Constructed circa 1991, it is a 30 storey modern office tower. New Zealand sits on the ‘pacific ring of fire’; a highly active seismic region. The building was assessed in 2011 using a “performance based” approach and found to have a lower than expected seismic performance. Over the last five years the building has been systematically strengthened while remaining fully tenanted. The project has spurred new assessment and strengthening techniques and overcome several major logistical challenges to reach a successful completion.

Judge's comment:

The Majestic Centre in Wellington, New Zealand is a 30-storey tower, built in 1991. Following the Christchurch earthquake in 2010 the seismic capacity of the building was assessed and it was found to have only 40% of the strength required by the Codes. Rather than demolishing and rebuilding, which would have been one option, it was decided to strengthen the tower to make it fully compliant with the Codes. An extremely complex series of operations was carried out to strengthen the cores and the floors. The tower remained nearly fully occupied throughout the work.

This was an extraordinarily difficult operation avoiding the demolition and rebuilding that would have used an enormous amount of energy in plant and materials. Rebuilding would also have meant rehousing 2700 tenants. It was a truly sustainable solution to this very difficult problem.