Sydney could soon be home to the world's tallest hybrid timber building if a new project comes to fruition.
BVN design studio and New York-based SHoP Architects have been commissioned to build a new headquarters for software company Atlassian, which will be constructed using timber, steel and glass, according to a BVN press release.
The building will have approximately 40 floors and 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," Ninotschka Titchkosky, BVN co-CEO, said in a statement. "It will make what was once 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," according to BVN.
The planned 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 could be completed by 2025, as part of a planned regeneration of the area that could provide workspace for some 25,000 employees, 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," said Scott Farquhar, Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO, in the statement.
"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."
Both Farquhar and local government leader Gladys Berejiklian, the New South Wales Premier, said the new district would generate jobs and drive the area's recovery from coronavirus. Development applications will be submitted in the next few months, with construction to begin next year if approved.
The world's current tallest timber building is an 18-story tower in the Norwegian town of Brumunddal. The 280-foot-tall Mjøstårnet tower became the world's tallest timber building when it opened in 2019.
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.