Groninger Forum, Groningen, Netherlands

Aurecon provides internationally regarded seismic analysis expertise to incorporate earthquake resilient design into the architecturally complex Groninger Forum building in the Netherlands.

“Working on the Groninger Forum building has stood the test of internationally recognised seismic experts,” says Duncan Fleming, Aurecon Building Expertise Leader. “The project challenges were solved through the ability of our team to create custom analytical solutions to deal with unique technical issues ultimately enhancing our relationship with our clients.”

Over the last few years the North of Holland has been experiencing increasing levels of seismic activity related to gas extraction from the Groningen gas field, one of the largest gas fields in the world. With the awareness of the increased seismicity there is a need to incorporate seismic design into the iconic Groninger Forum which is a major real estate development by the Municipality of Groningen and is currently under construction

Located in the city of Groningen, the building includes a five-level basement with a 10-storey building above. It is intended to function as a cultural centre, housing a library, cinema and parts of the Groningen museum. The Groninger Forum, when completed, is expected to receive 1.6 million visitors a year. 

Dutch company ABT which is responsible for the building’s design, approached Aurecon based on its international reputation for seismic design and assessment to complete the complex seismic analyses required.

Understanding the unique seismic activity

A key challenge of the project is understanding the unique seismic activity that is being experienced in Groningen as it differs from typical tectonic induced seismicity. Added to this is the building’s complex structure and geometry consisting of varying angles and different spaces, all with the original design not having incorporated seismic load demands.

To overcome this, Aurecon engineers from Wellington spent a few weeks in the Netherlands working alongside engineers from ABT and the contractor on the seismic analyses and strengthening for the building. They also held workshops in Wellington focusing on an array of seismic design aspects.

As part of the development of the final strengthening solution various structural options were considered, including specific base isolation systems for low displacement structures.

To accelerate and co-ordinate the extraction of the complex data from the seismic analysis models Aurecon developed a post processing script that allows ABT’s engineers to work efficiently on amending specific aspects of the structural design.

The architectural design was undertaken by NL Architects, Netherlands.

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