Tait Communications, Christchurch, New Zealand

Aurecon delivers high-level earthquake protection to the new global headquarters for Tait Communications in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The 2011 February Christchurch Earthquake devastated The Garden City, causing widespread damage to thousands of homes and flattening the Christchurch central business district (CBD).

To protect against future earthquake damage and to give back to the community, the client requested an innovative, sustainable and low-damage seismic design for its new headquarters which provided a safe working environment and flexible internal layouts.

The campus building was designed with two wings, each two-storeys high and covering 7 000 metres square of office space, including an extensive conference centre. A central atrium connects these wings and serves as an entrance as well as a key interactive space for the staff. It also features a cafe.

Seismic-resisting and innovatively designed headquarters

The main challenge in executing the project was that it required a regular structural system to allow the design system to progress. Close collaboration between Aurecon, as the structural engineer, and the architect was also needed to ensure a cohesive set of documents was achieved.

Aurecon delivered a seismic-resisting structure for both wings by using a laminated veneer lumber (LVL) gravity frame and rocking concentrically braced frames (CBFs). Ringfeder friction springs were designed into the CBFs to provide a low-damage, self-centering structural system.

Structural steelwork for the atrium was fully glazed and detailed to allow for the seismic gap between the East and West wings.

High-level earthquake protection

The new Tait Communications’ headquarters exhibits an innovative and beautifully designed structure that is less prone to seismic induced damage. Without sacrificing its aesthetic value, the building achieved a high-level of earthquake protection through the seismic engineering design.

As a result and validation to the building’s remarkable design, the Tait Communications’ building won the Excellence in Steel Awards 2015 – USD 1.5 to 3 Million Category. The judges commended the level of innovative design and sustainability that was applied to the project.

Aurecon provided structural engineering design documentation and construction monitoring services on the project. It was completed in September 2014 and in line with the client’s vision, houses two partner companies.

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