A custom solution from Autex Acoustics addressed the high reverberation time problem within the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, ensuring acoustic comfort for visitors.

Designed by Woods Bagot in collaboration with Warren and Mahoney, the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is an important part of the Christchurch City regeneration project. The convention centre, which aims to build social, cultural and economic connections between the Ōtautahi Christchurch region and the world, will play host to a variety of events within the walls of its 1400-delegate auditorium, 3600sqm exhibition hall, and 1600sqm of meeting space.

The building design is inspired by the braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains, patterns and colours common in the local Ngāi Tahu iwi tradition, and neo-gothic architectural conventions – a familiar sight on the Christchurch cityscape. An excerpt from Warren and Mahoney’s case study on the project reads: “The concept of braided rivers was a key driver for the façade of the building. Fluid and organic in nature, they wrap their way around the building defining entryways and revealing framed views of the surrounding context.”

The narrative begins with the façade and continues throughout the building, illustrated in material choices, colours, and structure. The multipurpose exhibition hall is expected to host anything from car shows to large-scale art exhibitions and 2,000-attendee banquets. The acoustic report indicated a high reverberation time – not uncommon for large halls with high ceilings – and required an NRC of 1 to ensure acoustic comfort for visitors, particularly those who may be hearing impaired. Continuing the traditional Ngāi Tahu motif, a ‘basket weave’ design was chosen for the walls, realised using custom 3D Tiles.

Looking for a Kiwi company to provide the acoustic solution for the exhibition hall, the team approached Autex Acoustics. Autex’s in-house design team and manufacturing capabilities meant it was easy to test solutions, provide prototypes, and create the final 1200 x 600 mm tiles with a custom mould. Petronas was selected as the tile colour allowing for objects on display in the space to take centre stage.

The finished product, installed by Oroqi, spans all four walls of the 3600sqm exhibition hall, with the basket weave pattern of the 3D Tiles honouring the tradition and culture of the local community while simultaneously presenting a sleek backdrop for international functions.

The meeting rooms were also fitted with 12mm Cube acoustic panels, keeping reverberation and echo at bay, and ensuring a high level of speech intelligibility. Sustainability informed the design decisions throughout the project, and with Autex’s Carbon Neutral Product Initiative, the embodied carbon of all acoustic products was offset using certified carbon credits. Te Pae has also achieved a Toitū enviromark gold certification.

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre was achieved through the coordinated efforts of architects Woods Bagot and Warren and Mahoney, project owner Otakaro, CPB Construction, and the numerous contractors and teams involved throughout the concept, design and construction phases. The finished project celebrates togetherness and hospitality, establishing Christchurch, and the wider Canterbury region, as a destination for Aotearoa and the world.

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