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Perth jumps into timber with 10-storey hotel

July 11, 2018

David Rowlinson


Article first appered in Fifth Estate

Western Australia is joining the timber trend sweeping the eastern seaboard with its first timber-framed building, a 10-storey hotel at inner city Northbridge.The $14 million “Leadlight” hotel has received the green light, to become what will be one of the largest timber structures in Australia. 

The plans include restoration of a heritage-listed, five-shop brick and iron building that was built in 1903 and has sat unused for 25 years.The building’s proponents, including Perth-based Klopper and Davis architects and Hera Engineering, landed on the use of lightweight mass timber to allow the tower to be built above the usual three-storey height restriction.

The fact that timber framing is significantly lighter than concrete and steel framing is not the only reason the material was selected, said Klopper and Davis’ director Sam Klopper. He said that building sustainably is a primary focus for the Perth-based architects, who are looking for opportunities to appeal to the “noisy” green building market.

As well as using locally-sourced timber – a hybrid of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber – other sustainability features of the Leadlight plans include targeting a 5-star Green Star rating, and leveraging natural ventilation and lighting, where possible.

The hotel operators hope to attract a “young, edgy crowd” as their core client base, who are likely to have an interest in sustainable design.Although much of the timber frame is concealed by cement sheeted cladding for fire-proofing reasons, some sections will be exposed to ensure the building’s green credentials don’t go unnoticed. 

Klopper and Davis has already been involved in the plans for a timber-framed social housing demonstration project in Perth’s Wellard in collaboration with Peet Limited and the Department of Communities.

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David Rowlinson

Make it Wood Program Manager