The world’s largest timber hybrid tower is going to be built in Sydney, Australia. This hybrid timber tower is made with a technique known as Mass Timber Construction (MTC) and involves a steel exoskeleton that supports the entire structure. According to BVN, this tower is “is one of the most hopeful technologies in moving the construction industry toward real solutions to the global climate crisis.” BVN is an Australian firm that is collaborating with SHoP Architects to create this ultra-sustainable tower.
In a Twitter thread by Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO, he shared how proud he was of Atlassian after the Australian software company formally shared the plans for its new headquarters — the new hybrid timber tower.
👩🏻💻 Tech Central precinct will be home to 25,000 high tech workers, 4,000 of which will be in this one building.
👷♀️ 2,500 green construction jobs for the next 4 years.
KPMG study shows $1b/year to the NSW economy. (2/4) pic.twitter.com/zuBI11lhvj
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) June 24, 2020
The entire precinct + building are an example of the green & gold recovery projects Australian economy needs to renew itself. 🌳📈
Thank you to @GladysB, the NSW Govt & the entire @Atlassian team who has worked hard to make this happen 👏🏻
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) June 24, 2020
The tower is spread across 40 stories and will accommodate 4,000 workers. Atlassian’s new global headquarters will be what The Architect’s Newspaper called, “the anchor structure of a nascent tech precinct.” It will be nearby Sydney’s Central rail station for easy access.
In a statement, the founding principal at SHoP, Bill Sharples, said, “Our collective work around the world focuses on elevating the experience of the public realm in urban environments, so we really welcome this opportunity to work with such wonderful partners to create a high-performance landmark for Sydney’s new tech district, at ground level, and in the skyline.”
According to design plans revealed by Atlassian, the tower will be just a part of Sydney’s skyline — not a focal point. However, with the MTC technology, the wooden tower will be secured in a sleek glass and steel design that will amplify Atlassian’s plans to achieve its sustainability goals. One of these goals is achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The hybrid timber tower will also have solar panels built into the facade, which will help it to run on 100% renewable energy. Integrated into this energy-generating facade are “self-shade capabilities” that help counter internal heat gain on hot and sunny days. Large and lush planted outdoor terraces will conceal the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces that will lace the facade — even at hundreds of feet up. The steel exoskeleton will support the tower’s ability to be divided into sections or neighborhoods that are divided by a network of vertical parks.
The tower, once completed, will be able to use 50% less embodied carbon in its construction compared to usual concrete and steel designs. When the building is complete and running, it is also expected to consume 50% less energy than newly built skyscrapers.
One cool element of this building is that there is already another building there. The previous building will not be taken down but integrated. The structure is the historic train station that is adjacent to Inwards Parcels Shed and was build in 1904. Ninotschka Titchkosky, co-DEO of BVN, said in a statement, “Atlassian has their eyes set firmly on the future, this project will achieve a number of ‘firsts’ globally and in Australia. t will make what was once best practice seem inadequate and hopefully lift the ambition of the built environment across Australia.”
The building is said to become the center of the state government’s planned tech hub that will span from Central to near Redfern station. The building is due to be completed in 2025. It will be the tallest of its kind — 180 meters high. Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar shared that he was taking a long-term view and believed that even a company with a highly distributed workforce needed people to come together. This was in response to people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Buildings have to be a place where they attract your employees to come in and do their best work, [and] it’s a billboard to future employees. We have an opportunity to be maybe the first building in Sydney built for a distributed workforce in a new way.”
Atlassian plans to use most of the floors in the building. The rest will probably be occupied by other tech or startup companies. Scott Hazard, head of Atlassian’s global workplace experience, explained that sustainability was the primary goal for the tower and it will be built to last 100 years. “Cross-laminated timber is an incredibly green material, and it helps us avoid massive amounts of concrete and steel. We are pushing the limits already beyond anything that we know with that material.”
As of right now, to my knowledge anyways, Canada has the world’s tallest wood-frame building with a height of 18 stores or 53 meters tall.
Featured image courtesy Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian
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