Australia’s tallest timber building opens doors

The timber building at 25 King St in Brisbane.

It might not look much like timber from the outside, but step inside this brand new office tower and Brisbane and it’s a very different story.

The 10-storey building at 25 King St has just been completed, and now owns the title of ‘tallest timber structure’ in Australia.

Combining Glulam (glued laminated timber) and CLT (cross laminated timber), the 45m tall building eschews steel and concrete to stunning effect, creating a property that is touted as being significantly more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

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The structure is raised on huge exposed timber v-columns, with the south facade designed as a ‘verandah’ of engineered timber, with many of the elements intended as a nod to the locally renowned ‘Queenslander’ residential buildings.

The use of timber allowed the building to be constructed in just 18 months.

It features nine levels of open-plan office space above a ground floor shaded timber colonnade with cafés and restaurants.

Built over 18 months, the tower has a total floor area of almost 15,000sqm, a south-facing aspect to maximise natural light, and folded aluminium sunshades to reduce heat build-up.

The ground level v-columns provide the base of the timber structure.

Other sustainable features include rainwater harvesting, energy efficient lighting, optimised air-conditioning and a green wall in the entrance lobby.

Philip Vivian, director of Bates Smart, the design firm behind the project, says the building is a major step forward for timber building construction in Australia.

“25 King reflects a turn towards making buildings and spaces that are warm and inviting. We know that people want to connect to nature, and using timber on the exterior and interior of buildings helps complete the connection, making people feel more at ease within the built environment,” he says.

25 King st Brisbane timber

The ground floor features a ‘green wall.

Almost counterintuitively, Bates Smart says the timber structure is actually more fire-safe than a steel building, as it better retains its structural integrity in the event of a fire.

Bates Smart is now in the process of completing a 10-storey timber extension to a building at Southbank in Melbourne, two five-level engineered timber buildings in Canberra, and a six-level commercial building in Cremorne in Melbourne’s inner city.

25 King St Brisbane Timber

The building features two different types of engineered timber.