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Australasian Timber - - 2017 AUSTRALIAN TIMBER DESIGN AWARDS -

en­trepreneurs, to work on their re­search or ideas.

“Lots of re­ally nice de­tailed work there that demon­strates in part con­fi­dence com­ing from Euro­pean as­sem­blers be­cause a lot of that was man­u­fac­tured in Europe,” Mr Nolan said of Mac­quarie Univer­sity’s build­ing.

“I un­der­stand that cer­tain com­po­nents were made in Australia. The amount of de­tail in that build­ing demon­strates the change that’s oc­cur­ring in the build­ing and build­ing pro­cure­ment process that com­put­ers and com­puter aided de­sign and routers are mak­ing and con­tinue to give us into the fu­ture.”

The roof el­e­ments were off-site man­u­fac­tured in 22 sep­a­rate glu­lam/CLT roof cas­settes and in­cor­po­rates cut­ting edge of timber tech­nol­ogy avail­able in Australia, us­ing in­no­va­tive

con­struc­tion tech­niques to al­low for rapid con­struc­tion re­quired to meet the tight bud­get and time­line.

Other sig­nif­i­cant win­ners…

Dy­nam­ics in Im­per­ma­nence, a struc­ture pro­duced for an ex­hi­bi­tion which is a free­stand­ing pav­il­ion made from birch ply­wood, each half a flex­i­ble con­tin­u­ous sheet of ply­wood mea­sur­ing 2400mm x 7800mm cut to pat­tern, won the Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign Stand­alone Struc­ture.

This is pre­cisely the type of cut­tingedge de­sign that has been en­abled through the use of new tech­nolo­gies and ma­chin­ery.

“At the mo­ment, you can 3D model things and take the in­for­ma­tion from that 3D model and drive that straight to a router. That router will cut out things you couldn’t af­ford to make on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis. That im­ped­i­ment to cus­tomiza­tion and unique prod­ucts ends, or drops down sub­stan­tially,” Mr Nolan said.

“If you look at the folded ply­wood routed sheet that won the award it was ef­fec­tively a young de­signer us­ing the same tech­niques in an ethe­real piece. That all comes from the ca­pac­ity to model things in three di­men­sions and then drive them straight out through a router.”

ETZ Town­houses won the Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign Multi Res­i­den­tial and Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign Timber Cladding.

“If you look at that one, as far as we could tell from the en­try in­for­ma­tion it was a timber framed set of town­house with a lot of ver­ti­cal lin­ings on it,” Mr Nolan said.

“It was a very nice, clean de­sign ex­er­cise; skilled peo­ple us­ing the ma­te­rial well, com­ing up with a very in­ter­est­ing de­sign. Then you also saw some re­ally good colour pal­let so­lu­tions.”

Bendigo Hos­pi­tal won its Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign In­te­rior Fitout – Com­mer­cial and Mr Nolan would like to see a lot more timber used in a health set­ting

“Wood to make peo­ple feel com­fort­able in a health set­ting: there’s lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties in Australia to use wood as a calm­ing agent,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties that could ben­e­fit; they’re a lit­tle med­i­cal, ster­ile, the bland the vinyl up the wall.

“Lead by the peo­ple who have to main­tain the build­ing, there’s a lot of at­ten­tion to be put into to mak­ing the ar­eas far more com­fort­able and re­lax­ing. The start of that change can be seen in the re­gional cen­tre in the awards.”

The re­gional cen­tre he is de­scrib­ing was the win­ner of Ex­cel­lence in

Timber De­sign Land­scape – the North­ern Gold­fields Re­gional Of­fice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in WA de­signed by Dono­van Payne Ar­chi­tect. A multi-use build­ing that en­com­passed child pro­tec­tion, health care, an art gallery and func­tion rooms all set in the very hot sun of the outback. It was the out­side courtyard space that cap­tured the at­ten­tion of the judges with a screened timber per­fo­rated lat­tice, timber deck and fram­ing with nat­u­ral light and shade.

And the other win­ners were…

“With a num­ber of the other projects, you can’t zero in on one, with them you see a se­ries of good de­sign prin­ci­ples be­ing em­ployed with wood as com­po­nents and many of them are houses,” Mr Nolan said.

“That’s one thing about wood go­ing into com­pe­ti­tions. They use it in in­no­va­tive ways in an Aus­tralian

con­text. They were in­di­vid­ual de­sign pieces by sole or small scale prac­ti­tion­ers us­ing ma­te­ri­als in a re­ally sen­si­tive man­ner in quite lim­ited scale build­ings.”

Ex­cel­lence Res­i­den­tial Munro Ocean in Class Beach Timber 1 – House New De­sign Build­ings

Ex­cel­lence Res­i­den­tial in Class Timber 1 – Al­ter­na­tion De­sign or Ad­di­tion Vic­to­ria Gar­dens House

Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign In­te­rior Fitout – Res­i­den­tial Fish Creek House

Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign Fur­ni­ture and Join­ery – Conus Light­ing Range

Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign Ris­ing Star – Munro Ocean Beach House by jay Ear­les

Ex­cel­lence in Timber De­sign Small Bud­get - Henry Street House

Ex­cel­lence in the use of Timber Prod­ucts Aus­tralian Cer­ti­fied Timber – Char­lotte Chapel

Ex­cel­lence in the use of Timber Prod­ucts Re­cy­cled Timber – Court House

Ex­cel­lence in the use of Timber Prod­ucts Timber Floor­ing – Aquas Perma So­lar Firma

Ex­cel­lence in the use of Timber Prod­ucts Timber Ve­neers – 12-Mi­cron

Struc­ture Is the Ar­chi­tec­ture Barangroo’s master plan

The whole of the Barangroo area had a master plan with tow­ers in the mid­dle and lower height build­ings against the har­bour, on the out­skirts which is where In­ter­na­tional

House has been built. The master plan stip­u­lated seven storeys for In­ter­na­tional House.

“It would have been nice if it had been a bit taller,” said Jonathon Evans, di­rec­tor Tzannes Ar­chi­tects. “It was to cre­ate a thresh­old into the place

... when you ap­proach from the city. So, this is the first build­ing you come to ... we called it the front door to Baranga­roo, the wel­come mat.

“What you want at the front door is a bit more warmth.

“We also looked at the ma­rine her­itage of the site - it was a con­tainer ship fa­cil­ity – go­ing back to the early 1900s. It was more wharfs, piers and that sort of stuff and all of those were ac­tu­ally made of timber like struc­tural timber.”

That har­bour space used timber as a struc­tural ma­te­rial though as Mr Evans said, in the past 100 years we’ve taken to us­ing it as just a dec­o­ra­tive ma­te­rial like a ve­neer, a type of wall­pa­per that we cover con­crete with, it’s just used as dec­o­ra­tion. Not any­more.

Mr Evans said they de­cided to go back to a time when it was struc­tural. Un­der­neath In­ter­na­tional house is a

three storey car park but when they were re­mov­ing the con­crete slab and ex­ca­vat­ing the site they found some of the old timber piers. They had been there for a hun­dred years.

“They took that con­crete slab off and started ex­ca­vat­ing - all of those timber piers were still in the ground un­der­neath the con­crete so when they were ex­ca­vat­ing they were pulling out th­ese 100-year-old piers, posts and col­umns that were in the ground,” he said. “So they had got pretty weath­ered so we said we could we use them our timber build­ing.

“We milled them all up and they came up as beau­ti­ful - it’s Aus­tralian hard­wood so it’s hard as a rock and be­ing in the ground made them nicely sea­soned. We used that in the build­ing as well ... we thought that was nice con­ti­nu­ity of the ma­rine her­itage of the site. Not many peo­ple know that.”

But the fact that there was a master plan is only part of the rea­son that In­ter­na­tional House is the award­win­ning build­ing that it is. There’s so much more to it in­clud­ing ar­chi­tect Evans.

Evan’s tree change

At the be­gin­ning, it was as­sumed that this build­ing was go­ing to be a con­crete struc­ture how­ever, Mr Evans was search­ing for in­spi­ra­tion in his ca­reer when he de­cided af­ter 20 years as an ar­chi­tect he would go back to univer­sity.

“I went back to univer­sity and did a Masters de­gree in sus­tain­able de­sign not re­ally know­ing what I wanted to re­search but know­ing we could do bet­ter,” he said. “It was just the norm us­ing con­crete and steel and us­ing timber as ve­neer.

“When I was back at uni the idea of mass timber con­struc­tion was dis­cussed and pre­sented so I looked into that a bit more, in­ves­ti­gated it to find out if it was sus­tain­able. If it was ap­pli­ca­ble to the built en­vi­ron­ment, be­cause it hadn’t been done be­fore there was a lot of ap­pre­hen­sion.

The con­cern was whether it would make a nice of­fice build­ing be­cause as he said th­ese sorts of build­ings are seen as a bit arty, a bit cre­ative, a bit weird and while ar­chi­tects like them ... it was seen as an un­usual fringe kind of ap­proach to build in timber for a com­mer­cial en­vi­ron­ment.

This was es­pe­cially so in Barangroo as this was for A grade com­mer­cial ten­ants and Lendlease would be try­ing to at­tract the best in town. It was dif­fi­cult to know whether this aes­thetic would be at­trac­tive to them. Note that the build­ing was ten­anted within a very short space of time by Global ad­vi­sory firm Ac­cen­tur.

The point of dif­fer­ence worked

“There’s a lot of of­fice space down at Baranga­roo, thou­sands of square me­tres in the tow­ers so we were won­der­ing how we could cre­ate a point of dif­fer­ence from all that, how we could stand out from the crowd,” said Mr Evans. “It’s only a mod­est lit­tle build­ing it’s only seven storeys high com­pared with 50 storeys or what­ever the tow­ers are. It’s a small lit­tle build­ing so how could we stand out from the crowd.”

Timber was the stand­out but it wasn’t the only one.

With­out any doubt the build­ing has sus­tain­abil­ity cre­den­tials stamped into it and that was a very im­por­tant fea­ture for Mr Evans. He was search­ing through his stud­ies to ad­dress that as build­ings have a huge car­bon foot­print and a big im­pact on cli­mate change.

“We wanted to ex­plore bet­ter ways of build­ing our cities more sus­tain­able and us­ing a ma­te­rial that was more re­new­able it’s prob­a­bly only the struc­tural ma­te­rial we have that is re­new­able,” he said.

It was the start of a jour­ney for him, a real jour­ney as he went on a tour or­gan­ised by WoodSo­lu­tions ex­plor­ing CLT and Glu­lam.

“It is used more in Europe and Aus­tria that’s where CLT was in­vented in the 1990s they came out with this idea of us­ing mass timber. They are high value build­ing prod­ucts,” Mr Evans said.

“I went on trip with WoodSo­lu­tions to Europe to the fac­to­ries, to the forests, to the CNC mills. I fol­lowed it all the way through from the logs to the fin­ished prod­uct. It demon­strated to me that it was ap­pli­ca­ble, it had a lot of ben­e­fits not only sus­tain­abil­ity but pre­fab­ri­ca­tion ben­e­fits.”

All the CLT and Glu­lam for In­ter­na­tional House was sourced from Aus­tria be­cause of the vol­ume. Australia doesn’t have a sup­plier yet, though Xlam is close. New Zealand has a sup­plier (again Xlam) but ac­cord­ing to Mr Evans it’s a typ­i­cal Kiwi set up which makes very beau­ti­ful prod­uct but it is hand­made and low vol­ume. Aus­tria is high vol­ume and builds CLT and Glu­lam for use all around the world.

“All of it came in ship­ping con­tain­ers which changed the pro­gram com­pletely, with a con­crete build­ing you’re still draw­ing while they’re pour­ing the con­crete. In this case, you have to get all of the draw­ings done a month in ad­vance of the con­struc­tion on­site,” said Mr Evans.

“Not only that but ev­ery piece had to be ex­actly de­signed and de­tailed so that when it ar­rived on­site it could be slot­ted right into place. And then the ser­vices could feed into the struc­ture. We took the op­tion to not have any lin­ing in­side the build­ing so again it’s a sus­tain­abil­ity prin­ci­ple not hav­ing lay­ers.”

In­ter­na­tional House is the first of its kind in Australia and Lendlease wanted to build it them­selves, they have a de­vel­op­ment arm and a con­struc­tion arm.

“About four years be­fore, when we con­verted the build­ing from con­crete to timber they saw the ben­e­fits for the fu­ture, not just this build­ing but many more build­ings so they started em­ploy­ing timber spe­cial­ists from Europe and brought them over,” Mr Evans said.

Th­ese were timber en­gi­neers who had worked in the UK, and Lendlease set up

“We knew it would get a lot of in­ter­na­tional men­tions be­cause it re­ally is the first of its kind where timber is the struc­ture.”

its own com­pany here called De­signMake. Lendlease saw the fu­ture of timber con­struc­tion they in­vested heav­ily into that fu­ture. They’re try­ing to do more to build up their knowl­edge.

Whether on pur­pose or as a re­sult of the fame of In­ter­na­tional House, Lendlease found that they were on a roll and they are plan­ning on build­ing an­other sim­i­lar build­ing to In­ter­na­tional House right next door. It will be a sim­i­lar height struc­ture be­cause of the con­straints of the master plan but about 50% big­ger.

They ex­pect to build it in less time be­cause now they have the pro­cesses in place. As Mr Evans says they have all learnt to do it bet­ter, faster and smarter. Even so In­ter­na­tional House took one month less to build than a sim­i­lar con­crete struc­ture. He said if they were to build it again now with the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise they have gath­ered, it would be three months quicker. That’s a sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ing.

The trade-offs

There are usu­ally trade-offs, so build­ing it faster meant it was more in­ten­sive.

“It’s a much more in­ten­sive process be­cause ev­ery­thing had to be per­fect when in a con­crete build­ing dur­ing con­struc­tion there are lots of RFIs re­quests for in­for­ma­tion – change made on the run,” said Mr Evans. This is a more pre­cise process.

“Pre­cise is a very good word for it, which also means there’s less waste - less time wasted and less ma­te­rial wasted,” he said.

“Ev­ery part, ev­ery ca­ble, ev­ery beam, ev­ery stair - ev­ery­thing was put into po­si­tion. The whole build­ing was fully de­tailed in CAD for­mat. It does take more time and ef­fort but it re­sults in a faster, cleaner, less prob­lem­atic con­struc­tion.

“An­other ben­e­fit of timber is the whole pre­fab­ri­ca­tion process ... the Ikea anal­ogy when you open the flat pack ob­vi­ously some­one has thought about how it goes to­gether, how the con­nec­tions work.”

In­ter­na­tional House had all its con­nec­tions in place, it all had to get craned up into the build­ing.

“Your crane time has to be min­i­mized, it’s one thing cran­ing it up but how quickly can the crane re­lease the load and go back to get the next thing,” Mr Evans ex­plained. “Put the beam in and do up bolts that are al­ready pre-fit­ted to the beam then you do up the nuts and then the crane can go back and get the next one.”

In­ter­est in In­ter­na­tional House has been enor­mous and it has reached far and wide.

“We knew it would get a lot of in­ter­na­tional men­tions be­cause it re­ally is the first of its kind where timber is the struc­ture,” Mr Evans said. “There’s quite a lot of timber apart­ment build­ings all around the world ... but to get the fire rat­ing they still cover them in ma­te­rial ... you don’t re­tain the aes­thetic.

“In com­mer­cial build­ings you need big open spa­ces, floor to ceil­ing glass, high heights in the ceil­ings, which is a dif­fer­ent psy­chol­ogy to hous­ing.

“We used the timber it­self to do the fire rat­ing of the struc­ture which meant we could re­veal all of the timber in­side rather than cov­er­ing it up with fire rated ma­te­rial. Nowhere in the world have we seen where that has hap­pened.

“We knew that would at­tract a lot of at­ten­tion ... it’s a new way to use timber but not just us­ing its sus­tain­abil­ity or pre­fab­ri­ca­tion but also us­ing it for its au­then­tic­ity be­cause the struc­ture is the ar­chi­tec­ture.”

Clients are lin­ing up now to ten­ant such a build­ing. We’re go­ing to be see­ing a lot more of th­ese in Australia.

■ The win­ners take cen­tre stage.

■ TDA win­ner In­ter­na­tional House. Pic Jon Evans

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