UNSW joins timber building trend

An artist impression of the new UNSW timber building. Pictures: Tzannes/Lendlease

Timber buildings are the flavour of the month in the tower design and construction world, and the University of New South Wales is the latest group to jump in on the trend.

The university’s main campus in Kensington will soon feature a new multi-purpose building constructed from cross-laminated timber, which is increasingly being used as the defining building material in prominent Australian buildings.

Australia’s first timber tower – International House Sydney in Barangaroo – was completed in 2018, while another in Brisbane became the country’s tallest when it was built last year.

Commercial Insights: Subscribe to receive the latest news and updates

Now the seven-storey D14 Academic Building will join them, replacing the existing 60-year-old UNSW Hall Building with a new structure designed by Tzannes and Lendlease.

An artist impression of the new UNSW timber building.

According to ArchitectureAU, the ground floor will be “highly permeable”, with the first two floors set back to create a covered, open promenade.

The next two floors will be home to flexible teaching spaces and other student-focused areas, while the remaining floors will be used by the faculties.

While timber is the dominant material, concrete and glass will also feature prominently, with the floors and core walls to be made of cross-laminated timber and the beams, columns and bracing built from glue-laminated timber.

The use of timber in commercial buildings is growing in popularity due to its low carbon footprint.