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Timber Design Awards

College of Creative Arts Massey University

The structural system in the new College of Creative Art’s building includes several world-leading technologies.

The structure includes the world’s first multistory post-tensioned timber frame, resting on a conventional reinforced concrete masonry and insitu concrete plinth. This structure incorporates damage avoidance design principles that aim to allow re-occupation of the building as soon as possible following an earthquake.

The building is designed as a series of discrete components, which allowed for prefabrication and quicker erection on site. It also means that the interfaces between connections are able to “rock” open and closed as the frame sways in an earthquake, before springing back into it’s original position.

Supported by the timber frame are innovative, prefabricated LVL /precast concrete composite floors. This combination is notably lighter than a tradition system and uses the two materials to their strengths. Concrete is very effective in compression with useful thermal mass and acoustic properties; and timber, being fibrous, has very effective strength-to-weight radio in tension.

Post tensioned precast concrete walls provide further earthquake resistance as they run across the length of the building. These walls behave in a similar rocking manner to the frames, allowing the building to sway.