If all goes according to plan, the tallest hybrid timber building in the world will soon arise in Sydney, Australia.

The tallest timber building in the world will be constructed in Sydney, Australia. Image credit: newatlas.com

The tallest timber building in the world will be constructed in Sydney, Australia. Image credit: newatlas.com

Who would have thought that the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the famous opera house would soon have competition as the must-see attractions in this world-famed city. This might well be the case if a 40-storey building, constructed with timber, steel and glass, arises in the city centre with the picturesque harbour in the background.

This amazing urban wonder will belong to housing software company Atlassian. BVN design studio and New York-based SHoP Architects have been commissioned to build the company’s new headquarters. The building will feature natural ventilation and large planted terraces.

The hybrid construction could use 50% less embodied carbon than conventional techniques and, once completed, use 50% less energy than a conventional building.

It will also feature solar panels and operate on 100% renewable energy from the day it opens. “Atlassian has their eyes set firmly on the future, this project will achieve a number of ‘firsts’ globally and in Australia,” says Ninotschka Titchkosky, BVN co-CEO. “It will make what once was best practice seem inadequate and hopefully lift the ambition of the built environment across Australia.”

The building will use a technique known as Mass Timber Construction (MTC), involving a steel exoskeleton that supports the rest of the structure. MTC is one of the most hopeful technologies in moving the construction industry toward real solutions to the global climate crisis.

The structure will incorporate the existing facade of an old parcel shed that currently houses a YHA youth hostel.

The building will stand in the tech precinct at Sydney’s Central Station and is expected to be completed in 2025. The planned regeneration of this area could provide as many as 25 000 jobs, with 4 000 in the Atlassian building alone.

Offices around the world have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and some companies have told employees they will be working from home for good. But Altassian is confident its planned building will respond to the new realities of working life.

“The space that we are building will be highly sustainable and highly flexible. It will be purpose-built for the future of work, for tomorrow’s world, not today’s,” says Scott Farquhar, Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO.

“Even with a highly distributed workforce, we’ll need a place to come together. Now we can design this space especially for these new ways of working.”

There is a growing body of evidence that timber can provide a sustainable alternative to concrete and steel. A slew of new timber high-rises is set to break ground or open in 2020. HoHo Vienna, a mixed-use development just five feet shorter than Mjøstårnet, opened for business in Austria early in the year, and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban has designed a ‘hybrid’ condo complex comprising a steel and concrete core with a timber frame that will open this year in Vancouver, Canada.