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Ensuring the Building Performs as it should in the event of a Significant Earthquake

The Clock Tower is the most iconic building at the University of Auckland. Originally constructed between 1923 – 1926 it is listed by Heritage New Zealand as a Historic Place Category 1 (which is defined as “places of special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage, significance or value”).

A seismic risk review carried out in November 2013 identified several areas of the annex building that did not meet comply with current New Zealand seismic standards. The report identified key areas that need to be addressed to ensure that the building would perform as it should, in a significant earthquake.

The University’s key objectives were:

To preserve the building’s heritage and protect its heritage status.

To reinstate historical features that had been damaged or lost e.g. returning the roof to more durable clay tiles, paying attention to the cracks in the stone cladding to prevent further water ingress, reinstating and refurbishing the timber windows and the door joinery and visually reinstating the fireplaces on both the ground and first floors.

​To reconfigure the space to suit a modern University. This included providing four new 50-seat seminar rooms for teaching, crush space for group learning and associated bathroom facilities, thereby increasing the University’s ability to meet modern teaching demands.

​From a seismic performance standpoint, the key drivers were:

Upgrade the building so that as far as possible the building would comply with current codes for seismic performance. This included upgrading the southern cloisters of the Clock Tower and to separate these from the Annex Building with a new joint.

Strengthen local features such as parapets and balustrades so that they did not present a risk of toppling.

The refurbishment provided an opportunity to restore some of the building’s significant historical features and the new revised layout aligns more with the original design.

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