28.11.2019   Christchurch Town Hall

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KNX used in restoration of top concert hall, bringing world-class control to last well into the future

The Christchurch Town Hall heritage building, which originally opened in 1972, is an integral part of Christchurch's identity and represents a unique piece of architecture positioned in an idyllic setting by the Avon river. It represents one of New Zealand's premiere performance venues.

The building was seriously damaged in the 2011 magnitude 6.3 earthquake - a force of nature that resulted in widespread damage across the city and significant loss of life. The Town Hall required major repairs to the foundations as a result, due to liquefaction and lateral spreading of the land beneath.

After many years of debate of whether to refurbish or rebuild, in 2015 the city decided on a three-and-a-half-year restoration project with a budget of 167 million NZD. The project included seismic strengthening to 100 per cent of the new building standard, new dedicated facilities for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and upgrades that ensured the building transitioned into a modern, world-class facility to be enjoyed for many years to come. Christchurch Town Hall reopened to the public for the first time in eight years in February 2019.

The brief During the refurbishment, Aotea Electrical was integral in designing a modern building control system for the Town Hall that would stand the test of time, conform to both Australian and New Zealand standards and modernise the buildings' services. This included controlling all of the lighting and blinds and integrating with A/V equipment and the building management system.

The solution KNX technology was chosen for its versatility, its ability to adapt to the future, and its ubiquitous integration. The final KNX solution controls all of the lighting, along with the building management system. This fully-integrated and modernised technology enhances each space further to include automated blinds and integration to projectors, screens and the sound systems.

Products and technologies used The KNX system controls or interfaces with:

• Communication for the main lighting mixing desks. • DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) lighting so that there is minimal 'snap off' for the performance areas. • Wireless motor-controlled blinds provided by Somfy. • DMX lighting for the water fountain. • Security and fire alarms. • The Crestron system in the building which controls the audio-visual aspects in each space.

Approximately 300 KNX devices, from a variety of manufacturers, also control over 2000 heritage light fittings.

Installation The retrofit was certainly difficult and time-consuming, as there were a lot of circuits that had to be correct and controllable. However, the hard work paid off. Aotea Electrical was delighted to be presented with a National Award at the 2019 KNX NZ Conference as the winner of the Commercial category.

The benefits of using KNX Thanks to so many manufacturers supporting the KNX standard, we were able to choose the best devices for each particular job, which ensured that the client received the best result from a fully-capable system that will last for many decades to come.

In addition, being able to run thousands of meters of control cable alongside power cable, gave KNX a huge advantage and made the rewire job a lot simpler than it would otherwise have been. This resulted in savings on both cable management and the penetrations required.

Project: Christchurch Town Hall A project by: Aotea ElectricContact: e-mail

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