18 August 2022
Project agreement on the the new timber hybrid Atlassian office block in Sydney has been finalised, signalling the start of construction. This 180 metre, 40 storey low carbon behemoth could soon be in good company with a 48 storey, 183 metre timber hybrid building called C6 currently under review in Perth.
These innovative new Australian buildings will tower over the current tallest timber buildings of 86.6 metres in Milwaukee, USA and the 85 metres Mjøstårnet, building in Norway.
Creating large wooden buildings is not new to Australia. Australia’s Woolloomooloo Bay Wharf in Sydney, built in 1912, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wooden building. At 400 metres long and 63 metres wide, it stands on 3600 piles.
Unlike log timber buildings, modern hybrid timber skyscrapers often use specially engineered ‘mass timber’ built around a concrete core. Mass timber refers to layers of timber products that are bonded together using glue, nail or dowel wood products.
Mass timber is gaining momentum in the construction industry as companies are looking to reduce carbon emissions. Buildings and construction accounted for 37 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020, according to the United Nations Environment Program and the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2021 report. The global building and construction sector must almost completely decarbonise by 2050 to achieve the Paris Agreement. Timber is attractive to builders for many aesthetic, practical and environmental advantages. Trees absorb carbon and release oxygen into the environment as they grow, making timber an excellent renewable building material provided it is sourced responsibly.
Compared to traditional construction materials like concrete and steel, timber also offers favourable savings in energy and lower carbon emissions during the production cycle. This is significant, as about eight per cent of the global greenhouse emissions are estimated to come from concrete and cement manufacturing. However, Australia is not expected to hold on to the record for the highest wooden building for long. Sumitomo Forestry Co with Nikken Sekkei are planning a 70 floor, 350m high hybrid wooden skyscraper of residential, retail and office space planned for completion in Tokyo in 2041.
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Pamela is a Marketing Communications professional with over 10 years experience working for both agencies and organisations in communications, travel, finance and retail industries. Pamela loves to be in nature riding a bike, skiing, appreciating the trees at her local park or exploring wild places abroad with her family.