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Christchurch Art Gallery

Christchurch Art Gallery

Civil works

Client: Christchurch City Council

Contract value: NZ$20m

Contract type: Design and construction, Joint venture

Completion date: Ongoing (2014-2015)

Building a strong foundation

The Christchurch Art Gallery was constructed in 2001. It is listed as an ‘Importance Level 3’ building because it contains objects which are highly valuable to the Christchurch community.

In the weeks immediately after the devastating September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes, the building served as Civil Defence headquarters. While it suffered no major structural damage, the impact of the earthquakes’ forces meant it is no longer sitting level.

The Christchurch City Council decided to reinforce the building’s foundations utilising base isolation technology, which would lessen the building’s exposure to ground motion, making it more resilient in future earthquakes. This is a significant project for the city, as it will help us secure international art collections in the future.

The base isolation project

This base isolation retro-fit project uses a design that allows the building to effectively ‘float’ on its foundations during an earthquake.

The building will be propped up, severing it from its foundations and putting in base isolators. The basement of the Art Gallery will be installed with 130 base isolators, structural strengthening of a number of elements and the creation of a 600mm-wide ‘moat’ around the perimeter of the building, at ground level.

The base isolation design will ensure the building can move up to 550mm in each direction during a large earthquake. The retro-fit covers a wide range of column strengthening, beam strengthening, wall strengthening, seismic joint rattle spaces, cover plates, suspended lifts and stairs and many other unique aspects.

Diverse capabilities

Working with our designer Ruamoko, this is the first project of this type undertaken by Fulton Hogan and a great example of our diverse capabilities. We have responded by combining New Zealand-wide construction capability from Fulton Hogan with proven seismic risk management expertise.

While we often talk about our commitment to creating, caring for and connecting communities, this project showed that restoring community is also very important. Fulton Hogan is proud to be involved in this project and knows that the local Christchurch community also values the work completed.