Rutherford Regional Science & Innovation Centre- Ernest Rutherford Stage 1

RRSIC – Ernest Rutherford Stage 1

Education Meeting Architectural Excellence


University of Canterbury (UC)


Ōtautahi (Christchurch), Aotearoa/New Zealand



Year Completed


Floor Area


Project Value

NZ $164M



Construction Company

Fletcher Construction

RRSIC Stage 1 project was the larger and more technically challenging of the two stages of the Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre. With a total project budget of $216 million for Stages 1 and 2, the new centre will provide accommodation for the College of Science, along with an unprecedented resource for the Canterbury region.

Minimisation of fire separation to reduce fire rating to services and penetrations was critical to the client and architectural vision for an open and connected teaching environment. This also contributed to ease of construction, reduced construction cost and minimising future maintenance requirements for the building.

During the period between design approval and completion of the building the fire design withstood several changes to the building design with minimal implications. This demonstrated the risk consideration/robustness approach to the final functionality and buildability applied to the final fire design, while still minimising ‘over design’. The fire design gave the other consultants and client and confidence to design and not mandate or constrict their solutions.

The design stages were delivered on time and on budget, with active involvement through the extended construction period required by Fletchers.

Holmes also provided structural fire analysis using finite element methods to demonstrate the capacity of specific structural members.

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