Christchurch Earthquake


Christchurch Justice & Emergency Services Precinct

The 2011 earthquakes caused widespread damage to Canterbury, particularly to the Christchurch city centre. A key insight in the aftermath is how vital it is to have resilient emergency services infrastructure that can endure unpredictable events like earthquakes.

The Christchurch Justice & Emergency Services Precinct is designed to do this. The Precinct brings together all justice and emergency services in one purpose-built, leading-edge precinct in central Christchurch. It’s the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history and the first major public building to be built and opened following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

WSP provided architectural design – in collaboration Warren & Mahoney and Cox – as well as buildings services design and engineering

With the aim of setting design standards for the rebuild of Christchurch for sustainability, energy efficiency and safety, WSP harnessed its expertise in innovation and the use of world-class technologies. The entire precinct is heated and cooled by highly efficient ground sourced heat pumps connected to the Christchurch Aquifers, the largest system to be installed in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world. The precinct proves the viability of the abundant aquifers as a cheap energy source for both heating and cooling for other developments in the CBD.

WSP utilised Building Information Modelling to provide a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics which allowed multiple stakeholders to walk through a virtual building, review and approve prior to construction.

With a building importance level 4, the precinct has seismic resilience to operate immediately after an earthquake and a purpose-built Emergency Operations Centre will ensure state-of-the-art emergency response capability for local and national events. In the event of an emergency, the precinct will have independent power, water and waste disposal for at least 72 hours.