Canterbury Arena first design unfolded


New Zealand Canterbury Arena design published Image: BESIX Watpac

The classy new fully enclosed arena is being delivered for the Christchurch City Council (New Zealand) by the Kōtui team, led by BESIX Watpac (Australian construction and civil engineering company).

The ‘BESIX Watpac’ stated that the versatile multiuse venue will seat 30,000 fans in sporting stadium mode and 37,800 in concert configuration, all protected from the elements by the fully covered transparent roof.

The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA) is a multiuse sports arena to be built on land bordered by Hereford, Madras, Tuam, and Barbadoes streets in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Multi-Use Arena is designed as a replacement for Lancaster Park which got damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and subsequently demolished in 2019.

The Christchurch City Council is the local Government authority for Christchurch in New Zealand. It is a territorial authority elected to represent the 392,100 people of Christchurch. Since October 2013, the Mayor of Christchurch is Lianne Dalziel, who succeeded Bob Parker.

The ‘BESIX Watpac’ further stated that the first high-level images of the CMUA preliminary design released on December 3rd reflect significant development of the original concept design released in 2019. Changes reflect the seismic requirements and to improve the health of the turf, the fan experience, the multiuse functionality, and to maximize the sunlight and minimize the noise impacts for neighboring properties. An oculus-style roof design has been adopted to increase the strength of the structure which spans 175 meters by 210 meters. The dome shape provides extra rigidity to the roof diaphragm.

The architectural design has been prepared by Christchurch-based architects Warren & Mahoney and international arena design experts Populous.

Populous Director Chris Paterson said the Arena will be a place for Cantabrians to come together – “Our team is working hard with Matapopore to design a venue that is connected with local culture – a flexible, urban arena within a thriving precinct for the community to enjoy memorable events and important celebrations. Populous is driven by designing places where people love to be together, and this sentiment fits perfectly with our work as part of the Kōtui team,” Chris said.

BESIX Watpac’s global in-house engineering department has assisted in the development of the structural design, which is being produced by Mott MacDonald and reviewed by Christchurch engineering firm, Lewis Bradford.

BESIX Watpac Project Director Greg Muir said the engineering design work has entered the refinement stage – The Kōtui team has developed the engineering design and the delivery methodology and now we are focused on refining all aspects of the design to optimize value for money, safety and efficiency.”

CMUA Project Delivery Limited Board Chair Barry Bragg said the preliminary design is exciting -“These designs crystallize our vision for the CMUA to be the most modern, fit-for-purpose arena in the country – a facility that leads the way from an innovation and sustainability perspective. We know people are really excited about the prospect of having a covered arena in the heart of the City and we hope the preliminary design will capture people’s imaginations and give them a glimpse of what is to come.”

Added Bragg, “We are well on the way towards delivering Christchurch a world-class covered arena with high-quality acoustics that is capable of hosting top international music concerts as well as major international sporting fixtures.”

The Christchurch City Council will meet to appraise the complete preliminary design package in January, with the developed design scheduled to be completed by April.

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