The last place you’d want to be

Christchurch-Aftershock-engineerWhen the big 5.0 aftershock hit Canterbury today, our engineer John Hare was on a platform suspended from a crane, high above Christchurch Cathedral along with Ben West of Stoneworks. The aftershock rocked for over 10 seconds – and has been cited as one of the most powerful since the initial 7.1 event on 4 September.

As the Christchurch Press reports:

Hare hugged the cross as it swayed about 10 centimetres and West gripped the stone gable.

Hare said it was “very exciting”.

“Imagine the last thing you would want to be doing when it hits, and this was it,” he said. “There was that moment when everything flashed before my eyes, but thankfully it didn’t come to that. It was waving around a hell of a lot.” Read more

Seismic lessons

Derek and Lynn Anderson still remember the swaying. Not a familiar restful motion but a relentless oscillation as Christchurch’s September 4 earthquake grasped their modern eighth-floor city apartment.

For 30 seconds, the couple huddled in a doorway as their solid and much-loved home in the eight-year-old Park Terrace apartments became a small lifeboat tossed by seismic waves.

“My first thought when I woke was how much the building was swaying and creaking. We’d just returned from Australia where we’d been in a boat in rough seas off the Great Barrier Reef. So we’d had some practice,” Lynn Anderson says. Read more

Leading the world in earthquake engineering

Andy Buchanan, of the University of Canterbury, wrote this opinion piece for The Press in Christchurch.

In it, he credits the rigorous work of engineers in New Zealand, including our founder, Lyall Holmes, for contributing to the low level of loss of life and property.

It provides a good perspective on the development of earthquake engineering in New Zealand.

Advanced techniques save heritage buildings

The Christchurch Art Gallery was used as the city headquarters in the early days after the earthquake.John Hare discussed with Lorelei Mason of TV One News how Holmes Consulting Group’s analysis has helped preserve the Christchurch Arts Centre and the Christchurch Cathedral from the devastating 7.1 earthquake that struck on 4 September 2010. The video can be found here.

For more information on some of our advanced techniques, Knowledge Central offers the opportunity for you to see how structures will stand up to an earthquake. By downloading our program ‘Showtime’ and the files you can see how forces such as an earthquake will affect the structure by controlling different aspects of the program.

Architectural Alzheimers

by Rebecca Macfie, The Listener

With many of Christchurch’s heritage buildings suffering from “demolition through neglect”, the post-quake task of saving as many as possible remains tricky.

Eleven historic Christchurch buildings have been flattened by bulldozers since the September 4 earthquake and many more are poised to follow, causing architectural historian Ian Lochhead to fear the city will end up with “architectural Alzheimer’s … we don’t want a city with no collective memory.” Read more

Grand show planned for Auckland Art Gallery reopening

One of the world’s best art collections may go on show when the Auckland Art Gallery reopens next year.

Gallery director Chris Saines said he hoped all 15 Robertson Collection paintings would be here by mid-2011 for the opening, displaying 1875 to 1951 works by Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Salvador Dali, Georges Braque, Andre Derain and others.

“But it depends on whether Julian [Robertson] will be able to get everything here,” he said of the billionaire benefactor.

Five adjoining spaces and more than 400sq m of floorspace on level one of the Kitchener Wing will be used for the Julian and Josie Robertson galleries and work there is almost finished. Read more