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Isaac Theatre Royal

The Isaac Theatre Royal is one of Christchurch’s most iconic heritage buildings and contains a three storey auditorium built in 1908, and foyer spaces built in 1928. The Theatre sustained considerable damage during the earthquakes of 2011, which was worsened by numerous aftershocks.

An ambitious project was undertaken to repair the building with the main focus being the salvage of key heritage items such as the auditorium dome, the marble stairs and the Edwardian façade. Read more about the impact of the earthquakes and the repairs.

Holmes Fire was brought in halfway through the project to re-design the Fire Engineering Strategy for the building. As the theatre was being rebuilt to its original form the challenge was to design a Fire Strategy to work within the existing framework of the building, which was designed over 100 years ago.

Holmes Fire provided a new Fire Engineering Strategy within three months and added significant value by rationalising the fire safety systems required within the building, saving the client in the order of $300,000. Holmes Fire’s detailed analysis focused on:

  • CFD smoke modelling to assess smoke movement and impact on occupants;
  • Rationalisation of the number of exits and egress routes, maximising the total occupant load to be over 1,400 people; and
  • Fire hazard assessment of wall, floor and ceiling materials enabling the heritage fabrics to be retained.