Article first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald
Melbourne is set to get its first timber commercial office building. The wood engineered structure with an end value of $56 million will join Forte Apartments, Australia’s first multi-storey timber apartment tower, and a landmark wooden public library in the Docklands urban renewal precinct which has become a focal point for sustainable buildings.
Sydney-based developer AsheMorgan has launched a leasing campaign for tenants to occupy a multi-storey office which will straddle an existing two level concrete building in The District, a shopping centre next to Footscray Road best known as the location of Melbourne’s Star Skywheel.
About two thirds of the new structure will be made from cross laminated timber (CLT), an engineered product made from layers of softwood arranged crosswise and glued together under pressure into large panels. Engineered wood products are prefabricated in a factory and transported to the building site where they are put together like a Lego set saving time and construction costs.
“We are building over an existing structure so having a lightweight material is important for us,” AsheMorgan founder Michael Moss said.
Mr Moss said both employers and employees were focusing on the sustainability and health impacts of their offices. “That’s becoming an increasingly important factor for employees in choosing where they work.” Wooden buildings had proven performance in both areas, he said.
The new building, called Woodwork, will have a ground floor lobby, retail space and four large upper levels that can be interlinked to create an open plan space of almost 8000 square metres. The use of CLT is expected to give the office a 5.5-star NABERS and Green Star ratings.