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Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Arts, and Media Building

This multi-storey building utilises LVL for structural beams, columns and floors. It boasts a world first timber design for sesmic resilience.

Aurecon structural engineers have completed a “world first” timber seismic design for this project. It incorporates the first of a new generation of earthquake‐resistant engineering technology. Using pairs of rocking timber walls, joined with energy dissipaters, the structure is able to absorb seismic energy and reduce building damage during an earthquake.

This is a new generation of seismic engineering known as damage avoidance design.All structural beams, columns and floors are of engineered timber construction in NelsonPine laminated veneer lumber (LVL). This locally manufactured product has excellent strength properties, is durable and fire resistant. This allows the design of beams, columns and floor systems that are the equivalent of steel and concrete.

Innovative timber design promotes a sustainable approach to construction. By using timber grown and manufactured within a 100km radius of Nelson, (NelsonPine LVL, and local fabricators Hunter Laminates and Potius Flooring to manufacture structural components) this project is supporting Nelson’s forestry and timber manufacturing industries.

Irving Smith Jack Architects have designed the building to highlight its timber construction. When completed, timber components will remain visible, showcasing the innovative design approach and allowing this building to act as an exemplar for both the design and building industries. “As architects, we see this as the first in a new generation of creative, sustainable, wooden structured multi‐storied buildings,” says project architect Andrew Irving.

A series of design innovations contribute to the sustainable design approach employed. Devices including mixed mode heating and cooling, heat exchangers, thermal mass, high insulation levels, use of natural daylight, assisted ventilation and solar water heating are used to reduce energy consumption. At completion energy usage will be monitored by the University of Canterbury for comparison with more traditionally constructed buildings.

This will be an attractive building that will enhance the architectural environment of NMIT and Nelson ‐ an inspiration to the many budding artists and designers who will be working in it.

For more information go to:
NMIT website’s section about this building.
EXPAN website’s NMIT building article.