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New hall at Wellington College wins prize for design and seismic strength

News from Steel Construction NZ
Wellington structural steel contractor Stevensons took out first place in its category for The Alan Gibbs Centre, Wellington College’s new Memorial Hall and Performing Arts Centre, at this year’s Steel Construction New Zealand’s (SCNZ’s) Excellence in Steel Awards.

The annual awards celebrate the best and brightest in the industry and acknowledge the industry’s commitment to innovation, quality and collaboration.

Nominated by consulting structural engineers Clendon Burns & Park, the project won first place in the $500,000 – $1.5 million category for its standout design and superb seismic performance.

The Centre is designed to ensure superb seismic performance and was informed by post-earthquake experience gained from the Canterbury and Seddon earthquakes.

The project offered a few key challenges – construction in a confined space, the need for the school to remain operational during construction and a tight delivery timeframe.

To meet these requirements, the team identified structural steel for the superstructure, allowing for the material’s light weight and high stiffness to match the strength requirements and ensure seismic performance.

The building features a gravity system of steel portals and mullions to support the stunning architectural metal skin. Cross-braced frames with tension anchors also feature as the lateral bracing system. Bolted connections allowed for easy and quick assembly on site while fully braced steel roof diaphragms were designed to deal with the complicated roof profile.

The success of the project relied on the strong collaboration between the design team and the contractor, whose teamwork was integral to delivering this great building for the Wellington College.

Judges applauded the standout project, commenting that “the team was brave enough to do something innovative and beyond the traditional architecture manual… the outcome is an elegant design and sophisticated structural engineering solution”.

This year SCNZ received 32 entries for the awards. The entries were whittled down to 20 finalists who showcased the exceptional design and execution possible when steel is used as the principal construction material. Award categories ranged from under $500,000 to more than $3 million, including an additional category to recognise residential innovations.

SCNZ chairman Wayne Carson said: “The awards showcase the best of our industry and stand as an opportunity to celebrate the projects that demonstrate best-practice, value, efficiency and innovation. The high quality of our finalists and the projects on show this year, is what sets our local structural steel industry apart from the rest of the world.”

The awards evening, hosted at Wellington’s Te Papa Museum, attracted an audience of almost 200 leaders and experts from the structural steel industry. Chris Bishop, MP for Hutt South, presented all the Excellence in Steel awards and congratulated all recipients on their success.

About SCNZ

Steel Construction New Zealand Inc. (SCNZ) aims to advance the interests of New Zealand’s diverse steel construction industry by promoting the benefits of steel solutions in building and infrastructure projects. Members include manufacturers of structural steel and steel products, distributors, fabricators, designers, detailers, galvanisers, and paint and building supply companies. SCNZ provides its members with technical advice on the latest in steel design trends and standards, networking opportunities and a representative voice with key industry and government decision-makers. For more information please visit scnz.org.