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Refurbishment of The Christchurch Town Hall

August 4th 2020


Future Ready

The heritage building, formally known as the Christchurch Town Hall of the Performing Arts, which originally opened in 1972, was seriously damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. After many years of debate whether to refurbish or rebuild the city decided to refurbish this heritage building. It is one of the City’s most recognisable pieces of architecture and one of New Zealand’s premier performance venues.

Three years of restoration work included strengthening to 100% of the new building standard, reinstating its iconic heritage features as well as a significant upgrade and overall refurbishment of the 2,500 seat auditorium.

As part of this refurbishment of the Christchurch Town Hall the opportunity was taken to add a modern control system that would stand the test of time. The only choice was a building control system that conforms to Australian and New Zealand standards and this means that KNX was installed into the Town Hall.

The KNX controls all of the lighting, with other parties also installing it to act as the BMS. This is a true KNX building now and it will stand the test of time.

The retrofit was difficult and time consuming, ensuring that all circuits were correct and controllable. Being able to run the KNX cable along with the power made this job a lot easier as less cable routes and penetrations were required for this to be achieved and with thousands of meters of KNX cable being run this was no easy feat.

When complete, approximately 300 KNX devices will control over 2000 lights in the Town Hall, with KNX devices from a variety of manufacturers. This means that the best device was chosen for the job, and ensures that the client receives the best result from a fully capable system.

The systems control multiple facets including DMX lighting for the water fountain and interfacing with the main lighting mixing desks. Carefully calibrated DALI lighting so that there is minimal ‘snap off’ for the performance areas to wireless somfy blinds. The KNX interfaces with the security and fire alarms and also the Crestron in the building which controls the AV aspect.

The James Hay Theatre reopened in April 2019, and the whole complex was refurbishment of the Christchurch Town Hall by August 2019.

The Aotea Electric team are proud to say they picked up several awards for this project. The Aotea Automation team won the KNX NZ Commercial Project Of The Year 2019.