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Te Kaha Stadium by Design Engineers

Developer: Christchurch City Council
Architect: Populous + Warren and Mahoney
Contractor: Besix Watpac
Location: Christchurch
Service Type: Facade Engineering

Following the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in 2010-2011, the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP) in 2012 identified the development of a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue/stadium as a replacement for the earthquake damaged AMI Stadium at Lancaster Park. This new venue was known as the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA), and is now known as ‘Te Kaha’. ‘Te Kaha’ is a significant project for the people of Canterbury. It is the last of the Christchurch Central City Recovery Plan anchor projects and is a symbol of unity and coming together for the community. The name ‘Te Kaha’ has been gifted by Ngāi Tūāhuriri and has the meaning of “the strength” – a shortened version of Te Kaharoa – meaning “enduring strength”. Te Kaharoa was gifted as a name for the precinct around the stadium. The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP) identified a 6.2-hectare site in 2012 in a central city location for the development of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA), with this precinct being named Te Kaharoa.

The precinct comprises most of the three city blocks bounded by Hereford, Barbadoes, Tuam and Madras Streets. Lichfield and Cashel Street historically provided east west links through the site, but as part of the enabling works these streets were formally closed for public use, in preparation for the works commencing on site. 5 floors of habitable space, including the player facilities, function space, suites, media studios and 3 tiers of premium seating. Access stairs are provided to the Media Level roof (L05) for maintenance access, including access to the main roof structure above. A 3-storey atrium space forming the primary entrance to the Arena, accommodating escalators and enabling natural light into the concourses.

The structure is approximately 130m by 45m on plan and 27m tall. From ground to Level 01 the structure is principally formed from reinforced concrete columns and shear walls, with steel beams supporting the Level 01 floor structure.  Above Level 01 the structure is comprised of steel EBF frames. The open-plan nature of the function room at Level 01 (that occupies close to 50% of the building length) has led to transfer beams being incorporated in the Level 02 floor structure over, and to the principal EBF lines being located outside the central Level 01 function space. A requirement for there to be generally no vertical structure within 2.5m of the pitch-facing edge of the Media Level, along with the corridor location, results in cantilever steel beams at Level 04 & 05, and a column grid along this edge that doesn’t align with the other levels below. The suspended floors are formed using precast double-tee units with an in-situ topping providing diaphragm action. The seating structures are formed from individual precast seating units that sit on top of steel rakers. Between the rakers steel bracing elements transfer the lateral seismic loads from the rakers to the floor diaphragms and EBFs. A seismically separated lower tier formed with shear walls in both orthogonal directions with steel rakers and plan bracing supporting the seating units. 

The key objectives for the development are understood to be: Create a legacy asset and instil a sense of pride and ownership amongst Cantabrians. Stimulate the region’s economy, including attracting domestic and international visitors. Enable the region to be positioned to attract a range of events across the calendar year, including sporting events, concerts, and entertainment activities. Increase the vibrancy of the city and maximize the connection with the city and surroundings. Provide certainty and confidence to the market and help sustain and grow private investment. Enhance the region’s sporting identity and reputation as a nursery for sporting talent. Providing a quality environment for both staff and visitors. Design for safe access and maintainability. Flexibility within the design to allow for overlay services (communication, power, water, and drainage) to suit event day operation. Facilities that are reliable and efficient in delivering and/or controlling building services. Delivering a quality development within the project budget constraints. 

The key project features that are embedded within the design include: 
Rectangular permanent natural turf pitch. Fully covered roof, with ETFE for turf health and a clear span. A raised concourse to enable views of the field of play. A capacity of 25,000 permanent seats in primary sports mode plus the ability to add 5,000 temporary seats in future. Event mode flexibility via a 35,000-person capacity for full size concerts in arena mode and up to 15,000 in a cut-down mode. Multi-use potential to not preclude the ability to host a range of events year-round, including expos, concerts, festivals, trade shows etc. 
Consideration of non-event day use and the ability for the multi-use arena to host smaller hospitality functions i.e., corporate events, meetings or private events such a weddings and special occasions. Consideration of both arena and stadia best practice to ensure it meets the expectations of both (i.e., seat spacing, optimum seating locations, sight-lines etc.). Future proofing flexibility. 

As Facade design Engineer, DESIGN ENGINEERS engaged in the development of a stadium project, the work scope encompasses a comprehensive range of tasks and responsibilities, ensuring the seamless integration of architectural intent, structural integrity, and aesthetic appeal. Our work scope: Conduct a thorough on-site evaluation to assess environmental conditions, site constraints, and contextual factors that may impact the facade design. Ensure compliance with New Zealand's building codes, regulations, and standards relevant to facades, including seismic requirements and environmental considerations. Work closely with architects, structural engineers, and other design professionals to integrate facade elements harmoniously with the overall stadium design. Contribute to the conceptualization of the facade design, considering factors such as transparency, materiality, and visual impact in alignment with the stadium's architectural vision. Conduct material research and analysis, selecting facade materials that meet durability, weather resistance, and aesthetic criteria. Consider local availability and sustainability. Perform advanced structural analysis to ensure that the facade elements withstand environmental loads, including wind, seismic activity, and other external forces. Collaborate with other engineering disciplines to integrate facade systems seamlessly with the overall structure, including considerations for lighting, HVAC, and other building systems. Implement energy-efficient facade design strategies and incorporate sustainable practices, aligning with New Zealand's commitment to environmental responsibility. Tailor the facade design to New Zealand's diverse climate conditions, considering factors such as rain, wind, and temperature variations in different regions. Oversee the creation of facade prototypes for testing and validation, ensuring that the selected materials and design concepts meet performance expectations. Develop detailed construction documentation, including drawings and specifications, to guide the construction team in implementing the facade elements accurately. Implement quality control measures throughout the construction process, conducting regular site inspections to ensure that the facade installation aligns with the approved design. Provide guidelines for facade maintenance, considering the long-term durability and performance of the materials used. Conduct post-construction evaluations to assess the performance of the facade elements and identify any areas for improvement or refinement.

In essence, DESIGN ENGINEERS's work scope for Te Kahu stadium project in New Zealand involves a holistic approach, combining technical expertise, collaborative engagement, and a commitment to meeting local regulations and environmental considerations. The goal is to contribute to the creation of a visually stunning, structurally sound, and sustainable facade that enhances the overall aesthetic and functional aspects of the stadium.


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