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2010 SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS

EXCELLENCE IN CONCRETE FOR THE COMMUNITY
DUNNING THORNTON CONSULTANTS for
Moving the Rob Roy (Birdcage) Hotel, Auckland

31 Aug 2010

Standing in the way of Auckland’s Victoria Park Tunnel project was the historic Rob Roy Hotel (aka The Birdcage), built in 1885 and listed as a Category II Historic Place.  In order for tunnel construction to commence it was agreed that not only would the hotel be relocated away from the path of the tunnel, but that it would be returned to its original position once the tunnel has been completed.

The first step in the process was to strengthen the building structure to current seismic code requirements – this would also provide the strength and stiffness it required for the move. Together with improving the timber floor and ceiling diaphragms, the rear walls of the building were sprayed with concrete to create shear walls – the primary bracing element for the building.

The next step was to support each of the brick walls at ground level with concrete “sandwich” beams - matching parallel beams on each side of the wall, post-tensioned together to carry the loads from the walls to fourteen sliding bearings. These bearings were located on four, stiff, precision-cast concrete ‘runway’ T-beams, which were required to span variable, soft ground and large culverts without succumbing to differential settlement. The brick masonry building needed a level runway to avoid subsidence cracking.

The 750 tonne building made the 45m journey in a slow and measured manner over a two day period, without incident and without any damage to its precious heritage façade.  It now awaits the return trip.

This innovative project, which featured the sustainable use of concrete, captured the interest of the media and the public at large. The result has been a win for the community with the sustainable retention, recycling and re-use of an important Auckland heritage icon for future generations to enjoy.

Adam Thornton of Dunning Thornton Consultants accepts the Excellence in Concrete for the Community Award from CCANZ CEO Rob Gaimster