Australia’s First Multistorey Office Building Made of Wood
Architects: Tzannes Associates
Location: Sydney (AU)
The new International House Sydney forms the gate to the new, 22-hectare urban development zone known as the Bangaroo South Area in the city’s main business district of CBD. The renowned Australian architecture studio Tzannes and Associates is responsible for both planning and building the seven-storey office and commercial building, done all with wood construction techniques.
The main supporting structure consists of a timber framework and glulam beams using about 930 m³ of glue-laminated wood and 2,000 m³ of cross-laminated beech and spruce. All connecting pieces and steel elements were manufactured in advance at the factory of Germany’s Hess Timber, then shipped to Australia and assembled on the building site. One special feature of this construction is the composite supports made of three block-glued spruce-plywood building components and inner layers of laminated veneer timber; these were developed expressly for this project. A standing plate of laminated veneer timber with a unique composition of the veneer layers was glued over the entire length and height of the components. This was necessary because the supports required significant breakthroughs which would have led to a high degree of localized transverse stress. Therefore, the laminated veneer timber has been used for purposes of reinforcement. The large-format recesses in the supports are used for media routing. No further reinforcement is required. The many tests of recognized testing institutes have confirmed the load-bearing capacity of these components.
A colonnade of two-storey wooden pilasters set in a V-shape characterizes the primary, streetside view of the building and forms a covered promenade. Australian eucalyptus wood (Ironbark), which is known for its density, was used for this construction.
The complex has a total area of about 7,900 m². The levels available for rent feature flexible floor plans and are 2.7 metres high. The aim is to achieve at least Level 5 of the NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) sustainability standards.
The architects describe their design as a »poetic and dynamic celebration« of the building material wood and its potential for multistorey constructions. According to the Daily Telegraph, this is the third multistorey wooden building erected by the general contractor Lendlease Australia. Previous structures include the 10-storey Forte apartment building and The Dock in Melbourne’s Docklands district.