Benmax has a reputation for taking on complex projects and The Arts Centre of Christchurch is no exception. The historic collection of buildings has a rich history and currently holds a library, public exhibition spaces, retailers and food outlets. Following damage sustained from the 2011 earthquakes, the Centre is undertaking a seven-year $290 million restoration project. Benmax has worked across many of the 16 heritage buildings on site with the complex library plant room a notable project.
As a heritage listed site conservation of the existing building structures was of the highest priority. With the schematics of the building unable to be changed, HVAC services requiring modern and improved earthquake resistant system designs changes had to be retrofitted within the constraints of the building. The use of prefabricated segments built off site proved crucial in completing the work. Another feature of project was the use of artesian water from the natural subterranean water supply, eliminating the need for high maintenance cooling towers. The system uses the constant energy from the artesian water to maintain the correct temperature in the condenser pipework, greatly reducing energy consumption and promoting an environmentally sustainable solution.
The Arts Centre of Christchurch recently took out the Supreme Award at the annual Canterbury Heritage Awards for refurbishment of the Clock Tower building. It is the second consecutive year the Arts Centre have taken out the top award, having received the Supreme Award for the Great Hall in 2016.