Providing the strength behind a national memorial.

Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

The Project

Babbage structural engineers were engaged alongside Bossley Architects to design the structure of the Maritime Museum extension and to undertake structural repair work of Hobson Wharf. The extension houses ‘Black Magic’, the 1995 America’s Cup winning boat NZL32 as a memorial to Sir Peter Blake, who died in 2001.

The Maritime Museum project is one of a number of community and civic developments Babbage has been involved with over the years. It’s a sector of specialisation for us. Support was also provided by our geotechnical team in testing the loading and stability of the existing Hobson Wharf structure.

The Design

The design of the extension presented several challenges in terms of structure which required us to hang the boat from the roof with a floating walkway rising around it. Another significant feature was the building’s end wall, which needed to be detachable should the boat need to be removed at a later date.

Project architect for Bossley Architects, Peter Sisam, says Babbage was responsive to difficulties involved with the site.

“We had to alter an existing building and wharf structure, build out over the water and keep the existing museum open while undertaking the works. Victor and his team at Babbage listened to what we wanted and worked through options with us until we found the right result.”

Repairs to the wharf structure posed several problems particularly the short time tides that dictated the six hours within which any work had to be completed for sprayed concrete to harden enough to sustain the wave impact from the next incoming tide.

Our structural engineering team was able to complete the project on budget and on time, even with difficult environmental factors.

Key details


Maritime Museum Extension
New Zealand Maritime Museum
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland
$9 million
August 2009

Project team

Dr. Victor Lam
Malcolm Stapleton
Wayne Campton
Craig Cooper
Ivy Lo