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The University of Auckland wished to replace a 9-storey hall of residence with three 4-5 storey interconnecting blocks, including a communal dining area.

We were engaged to design the structure for the entire complex, including assisting with retaining walls. The new buildings were steel braced frames with precast flat slab floors, on concrete raft foundations.

The Grafton site slopes with a difference in ground level of approximately 8 metres from one side to the other. The University wanted to level the ground to provide more usable space for the buildings to occupy.

Benefits of having us on the team:
  • ​Our aim was to design an effective, simple and repetitive structure that would be easy to build. We designed a lot of pre-fabricated frames to reduce the construction time. The contractor was able to erect the structure ahead of target, pulling back one month on the programme. The contractor told us the structure was easy to erect and its simplicity and repetitive nature assisted the construction team.

  • The buildings are light and could have used shallow foundations. However, the cantilevered retaining walls have required deep foundations (concrete piles), meaning there was potential for the buildings to move in the event of an earthquake the two different foundation types could lead to differential settlement and movement of the building. To prevent this from happening, we separated the retaining wall from the buildings with minimal impact on the building footprint and maintained the shallow foundations for the buildings.

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