Gingerbread quake model 'sweet as'

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

Old Muncipal Chambers made out of Gingerbread

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An earthquake-damaged Christchurch landmark may have a fairytale ending.

Engineering consultants Opus and United States firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) have joined forces to repair the 126-year-old former municipal chambers on the corner of Oxford Tce and Worcester Blvd.

The future of the structure, commonly known as the Our City O-Tautahi building, has not been decided, but engineers put their theories to the test using gingerbread, jelly and Jaffas for SGH's annual Gingerbuild competi tion.

Teams of up to six created edible reproductions of SGH projects, with structural stability and creativity among the judging criteria.

A miniature of the Our City O-Tautahi building was designed complete with a jelly and Jaffa foundation to represent how the building could look in 2015. Then it was subjected to an "earthquake".

The Christchurch team of Janie MacDonald, Will Parker, Diana Barr, Toby Tscherry, Nick Wetzel and Julie Galbraith spent more than 30 hours on its creation.

The work won the top prize, awarded by SGH's chief executive, and the people's choice award.

Parker said a base-isolation foundation, which allowed the building to move with the shaking, was one option being considered for the repair.

Retrofitting the technology was not common, although Wellington's Parliament buildings were base-isolated in the 1980s.

"It is relatively expensive to retrofit. If you designed it in new [buildings], it's really quite a small percentage of cost, but for old buildings you've got to look at what the benefits are."

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- The Press

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