The Tallest Timber Tower in Australia Opens in Brisbane
Australia’s largest engineered timber commercial building has opened in Brisbane, designed by Bates Smart. At 10 stories, and 45 meters in height, the “25 King” open plan office complex is the tallest timber structure in Australia, and “establishes new frontiers in the design of commercial buildings.
The scheme’s aesthetic is centered on the goal of “bringing a clear expression of its exposed timber structure to the building’s transparent envelope and promoting a warmer, more natural workplace environment of the future.”
The structure features a hybrid of Glulam (glued laminated timber) and CLT (cross laminated timber) elements, reflecting Bates Smart’s research into engineered timber technology to meet modern-day and future demands for function and sustainability. The departure from steel and concrete as primary structural elements results in a significantly lower carbon footprint, with sequestered carbon locked within the timber structure.
Each time an engineered timber project completes, architects learn more about CLT’s potential as a new building material and how we can work and innovate with it on all types of buildings. This building marks a genuine commitment to CLT from the industry. It’s exciting to see the ideas take hold and evolve across the globe, and we’re happy to contribute with the lessons we’ve learned on 25 King. -Philip Vivian, Director, Bates Smart
The structure is raised on massive exposed timber v-columns, with a south façade verandah of engineered timber. Nine levels of open-plan office space are serviced via a north-facing core, above a ground floor timber colonnade of public cafes and restaurants. The form of the scheme draws inspiration from the wooden vernacular “Queensander” building type, and historic pavilions in the surrounding Showgrounds district.
The use of exposed CLT slabs internally has eradicated the need for suspended ceiling systems, opening the floorplates to a larger ceiling height, softer surfaces and acoustics, and a warmer atmosphere. Set along a 6 x 8 meter grid determined by the span of the Glulam ceiling beams, the scheme’s columns are arranged to offer an intimate open-plan scale without hampering flexibility.
The scheme’s adherence to sustainable principles has produced dramatic savings, with a 74% reduction in embodied carbon, 46% reduction in energy, 20% weight saving compared to concrete, and a construction period of just 15 months aided by offsite prefabrication.