College of Creative Arts, Massey University

The overall winner of the Engineering Excellence and Highly Commended for Commercial Architectural Excellence in the NZ Wood Timber Design Awards 2012 was designed by Athfield Architects and Dunning Thornton Consultants.

Extensive use of ATS Timber Weka SG8™ Wet Radiata Pine timber custom produced as a partially dry product was used in conjunction with LVL in pre-fabricated roof structure. The structural systems includes several world-leading technologies and ATS Timber Ltd is pleased to provide quality structural timber solutions on this impressive project in conjunction with a local Approved Reseller supplying Arrow International.

Opened 22nd June 2012, the building’s advanced seismic engineering will make it one of the most resilient buildings in the city. It is the first in the world to use a post-tensioned timber seismic frame, which flexes like a push-puppet toy during earthquakes. In production testing, the key structural features of the building were found to withstand ground shaking and acceleration greater than that experienced in the Christchurch February 2011 earthquake.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says the building represents a bold investment by the University in the future of New Zealand. “New Zealand needs to embrace design, creativity and innovation because that’s what this century is all about. Massey’s investment in this building is about ensuring we continue to produce world-leading designers who are not only creative but entrepreneurial, business savvy and globally connected. In particular, this building will help us attract top international postgraduate students in line with the government’s vision for tertiary education.” The final cost of the building is expected to be under its $20 million budget.

The building was designed in a series of discrete components, which allowed for prefabrication and quicker erection on site. It also means that the interfaces between connections are able to “rock” open and closed as the frame sways in an earthquake, before springing back into it’s original position.

Supported by the timber frame are innovative, prefabricated LVL /precast concrete composite floors. This combination is notably lighter than a tradition system and uses the two materials to their strengths.

Weka SG8 products were used as cross members to LVL beams that made up the roof and floor structures that were prefabricated on site and then lifted into place.

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