Press Release 14 November 2005
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New Zealand to host da Vinci Machines Exhibition
Working models of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs will be on display in Auckland in an exhibition presented by Beca. The da
Vinci Machines Exhibition, never seen outside Europe, opens at Auckland Museum on 18 November and will be on show until
5 March 2006. Over 50 models of da Vinci machines have been built and toured by the Italian artisan company Teknoart
s.r.l. The exhibition also features Leonardo’s famous codices along with pictures, sketches and notes for the machines.
Leonardo’s futuristic mechanical designs formed the foundation for many inventions almost five centuries later, such as
the ship's hull with watertight compartments to stop it from sinking.
"We are very proud to be associated with this exhibition,” says Gavin Cormack, Beca's executive chairman. “Leonardo da
Vinci was not only a great painter, but also an engineer of the highest class. He continues to be an inspiration to all
of us who recognise that our future depends on our innovation."
Also part of the exhibition are the Beca Lecture Series starting from 29 November, and the Beca Flying Machine
Competition on 12 February. Beca’s Dale Turkington will join lateral thinker Dr Cris de Groot from Unitec to explore
Leonardo’s perceived ability to access both sides of the brain. Dale will also chair a lecture by Auckland artist and
author John Lyall examining Leonardo’s three-dimensional thinking ability. The Beca Flying Machine Competition aims to
encourage people to create their own flying machines, with advice from Beca engineers.
Leonardo’s forward-thinking designs and Beca’s strive for innovative engineering work find a natural synergy. Beca’s
endeavour to achieve innovation saw it win six Innovate NZ 2005 awards from ACENZ (Association of Consulting Engineers)
earlier this year.
Beca’s association with the Auckland Museum dates back to the 1920s when Beca were the structural engineers for the
original museum building.
Beca’s widely-recognised work in New Zealand now extends to international projects including:
- A road in Tanzania that would stretch from Auckland to Taupo
- A small city in Jakarta (Gandaria Main Street) with the total built area equivalent to 100 football fields. The city
is relatively self-contained for its utility needs including water, backup power and LPG station.
- A shopping complex in Jakarta (Pacific Place) which will be equal to 20 large shopping centres in New Zealand.
- A tower in Macau (China) taller than Auckland’s Sky Tower (also designed by Beca)
- Engineer to one of the largest nickel producers in the world in Indonesia for the last 20 years (PT Inco)
Note to editors
Here are some of the more recent, exciting Beca projects where Kiwi ingenuity is helping New Zealand and international
- Beca is advising Turkey’s Prime Ministry on an earthquake strengthening study of 369 multi-storey apartment buildings
- A New Zealand-developed software from Beca spin-off Derceto is helping American water utilities to optimise water
distribution, saving energy costs by up to 15%. This is possibly the only software of its kind that operates online and
- We are working on a masterplan for Qeshm, an island off the coast of Iran, earmarked by the Iranian government for
development into one of the most significant trade zones in the Persian Gulf.
- Beca upgraded the taxiway at Auckland International Airport into an alternative runway while the main runway was
- Beca converted the military tank landing vessel 'Brandywine' into a cable laying ship to enable Seaworks and ABB to
conduct an urgent shallow-water cable-replacement to a part of the Cook Strait Cable between the North and South
- Beca’s main challenge while engineering SkyCity Convention Centre and Grand Hotel was to maximise space while ensuring
safety and stability. Our team came up with an innovative design using long-span trusses to support the roof deck over
the main conference room and provide a vast column-free space.
Beca’s co-founder, Sir Ron Carter, was recently honoured with a special Commendation at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2005 in Auckland. The honour recognises his commitment to entrepreneurship and
exceptional achievements in business.
Established in 1918, Beca is New Zealand’s largest employee-owned professional services company employing 1600 staff in
13 countries, with projects in over 63 countries.
Beca works in five key sectors: industry, building, infrastructure, environmental and resource management, and delivers
engineering, planning, project management, applied technologies and valuation services. Headquartered in Auckland, Beca
operates from three market hubs: New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and designs and supervises projects with a total
value over NZ$2,400 million annually. Recent projects include terminal expansion at the Wellington and Auckland
International Airports, Britomart Transport Centre in Auckland, Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Sky Tower and Casino
Centre in Auckland, Manukau Wastewater Treatment Plant in Mangere, Auckland City Hospital and the 338m Macau Tower in
China. Beca is ranked 89th in the top 200 international design firms (Source: Engineering News Record 2004). Beca is
AS/NZS ISO 9001:2000 certified, and has won over 50 awards in the last five years alone.