Libraries  |  17 Apr 2019

Tūranga has had nearly 550,000 visitors in the six months since it opened its doors, and is fast becoming a favourite attraction in the central city.

Tūranga Manager Chris Hay says Christchurch residents have welcomed the library and it has already become a busy community space in the heart of the city.

People inside Turanga.

More than half a million people have visited Tūranga since it opened in October 2018.

“It almost feels like we’ve been open longer than six months because we’re so much a part of the landscape of the central city for many residents. People come here for different reasons but they all seem to find it a useful, enjoyable place to be.

“Drawing people back in to the central city was a key aim for this project and based on the first six months, Tūranga is achieving that goal. The Community floor, Hapori, on level 1, has been particularly popular with families.”

Foot traffic numbers collected by Christchurch City Council staff show 548,922 people explored the library in its first six months of operation, an average of 2754 each day.

The busiest single day so far was on Saturday, 20 October, when 5254 people checked out the new building.

The library’s Discovery Wall, a giant digital touch screen on the ground floor which allows users to swipe through a virtual world of photos, videos and information, has been a popular attraction used for 13.9 million individual touches and to send 10,000 postcards in the past six months.

There have been more than 238,000 items issued at Tūranga since it opened its doors.

The $92 million five-level centre was described by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel as marking the return of the city’s “cultural and community heart” when it opened on 12 October last year.

As well as housing more than 180,000 items, Tūranga holds a music studio, video editing suite, 3D printing, robotics, exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, a café, Spark Place, the Innovation Zone, the TSB Space function room and a children's play area. There are also study rooms, quiet spaces and areas for reading and contemplation.

The library is home to Māori, Pasifika and World Languages collections as well as specialist staff to reflect and serve the needs of Christchurch’s diverse communities. A state-of-the art archives store, teaching space and research room ensure people have secure access to the library’s fragile and rare items.

Christchurch’s former central library was demolished after being damaged in the February 2011 earthquake. It was the largest and busiest library in the South Island with nearly one million visitors each year.

Structural design honours for Tūranga

An innovative structural design for Tūranga has won a leading seismic resilience award.

Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers – working in conjunction with site owner the Christchurch City Council – has won the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering’s 2019 Seismic Resilience Award for Design to Achieve Low Damage. 

It is the only award to specifically recognise the structural design of a building.

A key feature of the design for the central library is the dual seismic resisting system with hybrid concrete shear walls that rock to isolate the building from peak earthquake accelerations.

The steel frame around the building perimeter also has rocking connections at the base, further enhancing the building’s response during an earthquake.