At 328m high, Auckland’s Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The unique, complex development required innovative and cost-effective solutions to deliver a safe, resilient landmark structure.
The Sky Tower has been an icon of Auckland’s skyline for more than 20 years, attracting around a million visitors every year. Four public levels incorporate telecommunications facilities, restaurants and observation levels with 360˚ panoramas of the city, sea and surrounding islands.
As the overall design and project managers for the development, we were responsible for all engineering services including geotechnical, structural, building services, lighting and fire engineering.
Being the first of its kind in New Zealand, there were a number of technical challenges. With safety and resilience top priorities, structural, seismic and fire engineering elements required careful consideration.
Structurally, the tower is designed to withstand wind speeds in excess of 200km/hr, and special detailing in critical areas of the reinforced concrete shaft aim to maintain the integrity of the tower, even after an 8.0 magnitude earthquake on fault lines closest to the city.
Due to the tower’s height, fire engineering design fell beyond the scope of local and international codes. So new standards were developed, including fire ratings, combustibility limits, smoke control, stair pressurisation, lift shaft venting, independent fire lifts, dual electrical supplies and high-flow sprinkler systems.
The tower was completed in February 1997, six months ahead of schedule. Today the tower remains an iconic landmark renowned for its breath-taking views, world-class dining, and adrenaline-pumping activities. It also supports community activities including the Firefighters Sky Tower Stair Challenge and displays various lighting schemes for special events.
- The Institution of Structural Engineers UK, Special Award Winner, 1998
- BOMA, Building Award for Excellence, Winner, 1998
- ACENZ, Awards of Excellence, Gold Winner, 1998
- IPENZ, Building and Construction Excellence Award, 1999
- New Zealand Concrete Society, Pre-stressed Concrete Award for Excellence Winner, 1997
- Sky Tower Floodlighting: Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand, Illumination Award (Highly Commended, Outdoor Category), 1997
- Sky Tower Observation Decks & Brasserie: Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand, Illumination Award (Highly Commended, Hospitality Category), 1997
Wind speed resistance
What our team says
This project brought together the best of Beca at the time, across many facets of engineering. This iconic building is testament to the skills of all involved in its design.
Chief Engineer, Structures