• PROJECT Sir Howard Morrison Centre
  • DATE 2022
  • LOCATION Central
  • SECTOR Tourism + Leisure
  • Client The Sir Howard Morrison Centre
  • Duration 2020-2022
  • Value $24M
The Sir Howard Morrison Centre achieved a Gold Award in the Heritage and Restoration Category at the 2023 NZ Commercial Project Awards.

Originally built circa 1938, The Sir Howard Morrison Centre has undergone numerous alterations, extensions and refits since its’ construction. It is listed by Heritage New Zealand as a ‘Historic Place Category 1’ structure.

The building had to be closed in November 2017 following a seismic assessment which concluded it was earthquake prone, at just 25% of the New Building Standard (NBS). A comprehensive project plan was developed early on with expert input from geotechnical and structural engineers, architects, and quantity surveyors.

Hawkins were engaged early on to ensure buildability of the proposed design. During the development of the methodology, the team recognised challenges that would arise in relation to the buildings’ heritage status. In response, the Hawkins team developed concepts during the ECI phase to ensure the project could proceed with minimal disruption to the programme. The construction site was split into four zones, to allow construction to occur in each of these zones concurrently, speeding up delivery of the project.

The heritage status of the building meant that the construction sequence was planned meticulously. Around 40% of the building had to be dismantled, while concurrently, the remainder of the building was strengthened.

Construction started in late 2020. New foundations were installed beneath the existing heritage walls to maintain their structural integrity. Pre-cast panels were installed, with 17 of these requiring a 300-tonne crane to lift these into place.

The re-use of 90-year-old rimu trusses, each weighing 1.2 tonnes, was a difficult manoeuvre, but an important part of the project from a heritage point of view.

Hawkins engaged a specialist asbestos removal company to remove a total of 3000m2 of asbestos from the building.

COVID-19 affected the programme, with the asbestos and timber purlin supply contractors in the Auckland region unable to travel to site. Fortunately, the team sourced the plasterboard early on in the project and stockpiled this at a nearby site.

The Hawkins team have undertaken a complete renovation of the building, which has increased the capacity to 950 people in the main theatre, 350 in the Black Box Theatre, and 350 in the Banquet Hall.

The design incorporates cultural artwork, such as the blue and green patterned glass in the foyer, designed by Henriata Nicholas (Ngāti Whakaue), part of the Morrison whānau.

The Sir Howard Morrison Centre achieved a Gold Award in the Heritage and Restoration Category at the 2023 NZ Commercial Project Awards.