College of Creative Arts (CoCA Building) | Massey University | Wellington | New Zealand

Role of PTL

  • Assistance with the timber engineering conceptual design
  • Advice on the optimisation of the incorporation of the Pres-Lam structural system into the design
  • Supervision of key component testing

CoCA Building

Building description

Building Facts

  • Client: Massey University
  • Size: 3 Storeys | 3000 m2
  • Opened: June 2012
  • Architect: Athfield Architects
  • Engineer: Dunning Thornton Consultants
  • Timber supplier and fabricators: Nelson Pine Industries | Hunter Laminates
  • Construction: Arrow International

Te Ara Hihiko is the name given to the structure housing the College of Creative Arts which can be broadly translated into ‘a pathway to creativity’ and creativity in timber engineering was exactly what PTL was able to supply. Unique in its application of the Pres-Lam structural system the building uses post-tensioning to provide not only the connections between the beams and columns but also from the columns to the foundations. This is the first Pres-Lam building to use draped tendons to resist gravity loading.

Exposed for all to see the use of post-tensioned cables to support flooring loads combined with long span timber-concrete-composite floors created open spaces while maintaining timbers warmth where students can not only learn and create but meet, chat and work.

Testing supervised by the PTL team of key building components showed the robustness of the seismic components by subjecting them to forces well beyond what would be expected in a design earthquake. Delivered on time and under budget, the CoCA building exemplifies creativity combined with technology and innovation.


Below is a selection of the many awards given to this structure:

  • Engineering Excellence Winner – NZ Timber Design Awards 2012
  • NZIOB James Hardie Innovation Award – Excellence 2013


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College of Creative Arts | Massey University website