Beca wins major international building design award

Monday 8 November 2010, 12:07PM
By Beca

Beca's Christchurch design team has won a major international prize at the prestigious Institution of Structural Engineers Awards for its work on NZi3, the Innovation Institute at the University of Canterbury.

Beca took the prize in the education and health category for the NZi3 building, beating competition from Denmark and the UK.

IStructE, as it is commonly known, has 23,000 members in 105 countries and attracts entries from around the world to its annual awards. This year bridge, buildings, rail and stadium projects were submitted from China, the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and included the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Samir Govind, a technical director at Beca’s Christchurch office, took a break from post-earthquake remedial work to represent his team at the awards in London on Friday night (UK time).

Govind, president-elect of the New Zealand Institute of Building, said, “I feel incredibly proud to be representing New Zealand’s engineering talent on the world stage. We were already confident that structural design in New Zealand is world-class, but it is very satisfying to receive official acknowledgment from the pre-eminent global professional body.

“I’d like to acknowledge the work of architects Warren & Mahoney and contractors Hawkins who partnered with us on this project to achieve the challenging design requirements presented to us by the University of Canterbury.”

NZi3 is the first dedicated ICT research centre in New Zealand and was the first educational building to be awarded a 5 star Green Star rating in this country. Its futuristic form is shaped by its use as a hub of entrepreneurially-focused applied research and the requirement for maximum flexibility.

NZi3’s structure received the ultimate test on September 4 and came through with flying colours.

Past winners of the IStructE Awards have included Heathrow Terminal 5 and the Sungai Prai Bridge in Malaysia.

Also in competition this year was the new BNZ building on Wellington’s waterfront, designed by Beca for CentrePort Ltd, as well as the Supreme Court of New Zealand designed by Holmes Consulting.


Engineers: Beca

Client: University of Canterbury

Architect: Warren and Mahoney

Contractor: Hawkins Construction

NZi3 is a ‘hothouse’ of strategic ICT research and aims to be a globally-recognised innovation centre that transforms ideas from the lab, across the innovation gap, into industry. As an entrepreneurially-focused, applied research institute, NZi3 offers a unique fusion of the best of New Zealand’s ICT academic expertise with industry-driven research.

The NZi3 structural design brief requested a building that was flexible and adaptable, as well as one that fostered innovation, creativity and communication. These specific requirements are echoed in the design of this purpose-built, two-level building, in its deceptively simple bridge-like structure.

A pair of 72 metre-long steel trusses run the full length of the upper storey, supporting the roof and first floor, and cantilevering in excess of 14m at each end of the building, supported in turn by monolithic concrete walls.

NZi3's striking interior is largely devoid of structure, with a suspended floor system spanning the full area of the building, providing ultimate flexibility for space planning in the future, and encouraging open collaboration and communication.

The NZi3 building was one of five New Zealand projects to make the finals of the World Architecture Awards in 2009.

Established in 1918, Beca has grown to 2500 employees across Australasia and Asia but remains headquartered in New Zealand. Beca provides planning, project management, architecture and engineering consultancy to clients across the Asia-Pacific region in the buildings, transportation, power, industrial and water sectors.

For further information:

Jane Findlay
Communications Advisor
Mobile 027 239 0277

Samir Govind
Technical Director - Structural Engineering
Manager - Christchurch Structural
Phone 03 374 3145
Mobile 027 276 7308