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Engineering hospitality: Kirk Roberts

Kirk Roberts continues to expand the horizons of ingenuity with its Sudima Hotel project in Kaikoura. Designed and engineered by Kirk Roberts, the project was always going to be at the forefront of technology and cost effectiveness.


The fully modular building was prefabricated in Christchurch and freighted for assembly on site.

Constructed inside and out in exposed concrete representing the local pier, bridges and volcanic rock, with the white textured concrete representing local limestone rock, and natural timbers to reflect the surrounding hills and mountains.

All materials are proudly Kiwi supplied. “Proving that we don’t need to go offshore, but this requires innovative, smart design and a co-operative builder like Calder Stewart,” says Chief Executive Jade Kirk.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) means the project is fully modelled to every screw and bolt, meaning, “We have a high level of cost control, with our build cost significantly less than anyone else or anywhere in New Zealand, while retaining top quality.”

The hotel features 120 rooms, a gym and pool, four-storey atrium and reception, full restaurant/bar and conference facilities, plus indoor and outdoor seating with stunning views to the north, east and west.

“The best thing is the economic benefit to the region: our conservative estimate is 40,000 rooms nights per annum with the majority of visitors new to Kaikoura.”

Local Runanga are a financial partner and committed to the success of the hotel, which will be the largest employer in the region with 40 to 60 staff.

“We love this project; we’ve had great local feedback and we are thrilled to be a part of the success of the region.”




Riverside Market: The feather in the city’s cap

The central city’s new Riverside Market has all the theatre and atmosphere of an industrial-scale Victorian era warehouse, with all the security of the latest in engineering by Kirk Roberts. How lucky is Christchurch?



Kirk Roberts’ Executive Structural Manager Nick Calvert says the exposed steel work in this building is a real point of difference. “Our team are a dynamic force, bringing a genuine sense of innovation and ‘can-do’ attitude to modern engineering challenges.”

On the front façade, the steel is integral to the aesthetics and forms part of the weatherproofing of the building, as well as being the strength of the building. The structure actually starts from the ground up, with stone columns embedded into the ground, meaning the foundation itself could be relatively shallow.

While it’s difficult to look past the stunning array of produce on offer, once inside, remember to look up at the roof to take in the scale of the exposed steel work which, together with the shear walls at the back of the building, are key to the structural support.

“The challenge was to make the steel work architecturally attractive,” Nick says. “We worked as a group, integrating architectural, structural, and geotechnical requirements. Knowing the details had to look great because it was exposed meant we had to find an overall solution that ticked multiple boxes. Our job at Kirk Roberts is to find and offer better solutions for our clients.”

The finished building is a fantastic asset. “We are so proud to have worked on what is a real feather in Christchurch’s cap.”