The CrossingNew Zealand MouradUnited States

New Zealand

Christchurch Arts Centre

The Arts Centre Christchurch project involved the refurbishment and structural renewal of earthquake damage heritage buildings including the Great Hall and Clock Tower Building, Chemistry building (now occupied by the University of Canterbury Music Department) and Boys’ High Block.

Holmes Fire provided fire engineering solutions using a C/VM2 approach in accordance with the NZ Building Code, Our team of experienced engineers were able to undertake detailed fire modelling to determine conditions in potential fire scenarios and using custom evacuation modelling software EvacuatioNZ, demonstrate that occupants can evacuate before conditions become hazardous.

The Fire Engineering design involved using as near as is reasonable practical (ANARP) approach for aspects such as:

  • Heritage doors as smoke controlled doors in lieu of fire doors
  • Existing door hardware was reused
  • Minimisation of door signage
  • Timber panelling

Key construction issues on the project that Holmes Fire facilitated the resolution to include:

  • Maintaining a high heritage value with respect to reuse of existing door and other features.
  • Installation of sprinklers and smoke detectors with least visibility.
  • Provision of a central fire pump rooms, and thereby eliminating valve sets in buildings.
  • Alteration by addition of fire ratings of conjoined buildings into separate buildings and therefore evacuation zones rationalised considerably.

The project has received an Award of Merit in the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. It’s the fourth time a New Zealand project has been recognised by the awards, with the Arts Centre taking out honours in a field of 43 projects from 10 countries.

All photos courtesy of Christchurch Art Centre.