JOURNAL/ March - April/2017


The timber issue

The inherent qualities of timber explored in its natural and engineered forms

Warm, tactile, renewable and enduring, the material qualities of timber are palpable. In both pure and hybrid structures, engineered timber has the potential to create high performance buildings that reduce the carbon footprint of our cities and feel good to live and work in.

In this issue of Journal we celebrate this enduring material in both natural and engineered forms; its nascent qualities and the potential for our future built environment through a selection of our built and unbuilt work.

Warm, tactile, renewable and enduring, the material qualities of timber are palpable. In both pure and hybrid structures, engineered timber has the potential to create high performance buildings that reduce the carbon footprint of our cities and feel good to live and work in.

In this issue of Journal we celebrate this enduring material in both natural and engineered forms; its nascent qualities and the potential for our future built environment through a selection of our built and unbuilt work.


55 Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne
Engineered Timber structure enables 10 storey addition to go ahead

 “The proposed new extension seeks to echo and amplify the architectural expression of the existing building”

Julian Anderson

Studio Director, Bates Smart

The adaptive re-use of 55 Southbank Boulevard will be a unique development for Melbourne and will bring a much needed serviced apartment complex to the Southbank area. In a first for Victoria, the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) will enable a ten storey hotel to be built on top of an existing six storey building. Bates Smart worked with client, Hume Partners, to convert this former commercial building into a new hotel including 220 services apartments.

Bates Smart Studio Director, Julian Anderson, said: "The existing concrete framed building was designed to take only six additional levels of a traditional concrete framed structure. By using timber which is 20% lighter than concrete, we've gone to ten stories which made the project feasible."

The CLT structure will be the latest in sustainable technology for Australia and will require approximately 5,300 tonnes of the material in the construction of the hotel. CLT is one of the most environmentally sustainable materials available and the use of this technology will offset approximately 4,200 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and will help regulate room humidity.

This sophisticated technology will facilitate a shorter construction time due to prefabrication and reduce transportation costs and associated carbon emissions.

Design competition work
A new generation tower for North Sydney

 “we propose a holistic solution, a single powerful idea that reinforces the client’s vision and commitment to sustainable principles”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

The Bates Smart team led by Director Philip Vivian recently took part in an invited design competition for a new 22 storey building on a prominent North Sydney site.

The team analysed the surrounding built context of coloured glass curtain wall towers and proposed a building that gives the client a unique identity; a tower that is defined by its differences.

The building sets itself apart from the North Sydney skyline by utilising a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) structure with a high performance glazed façade and exposed services to clearly present its environmental qualities and to capture the clients focus on corporate social responsibility.

Philip Vivian explains the design approach: “We propose a unique environmental office. This is a workplace that makes people feel good about going to work, and attracts tenants by its unique design and environmental values. This will be a next generation workplace, it won’t compete with the existing office stock of North Sydney.”

A timber clad double height lobby with abundant landscaping and natural light will create a serene space and meeting hub for formal and casual meetings – an urban living room for the inhabitants

An efficient and flexible side core layout enables visual connectivity across the workplace, maximising harbour views and reducing solar heat gain. The timber structure and exposed services creates a unique internal workspace, while perimeter stairs have the added amenity of natural light.

The glass façade extends beyond the roof line and forms a screen and a terrace ‘club’ space for tenants who require hospitality and meeting spaces.

Philip Vivian concludes: “With urbanisation driving cities to build densely and sustainably, using timber in tall buildings is an appealing proposition. Timber has the lowest embodied energy of any major building material. It is strong and light, relatively easy to work with and lends itself to high quality prefabrication techniques. Our design is a holistic solution, a single powerful idea that reinforces the client’s vision and commitment to sustainable principles and provides premium office space for today’s tech savvy generation.”

Read more ...

1 Denison Street, Sydney
CLT Podium is a truly connective space for North Sydney's next tall building

 “Timber creates a warm and humane base, activating the laneway with informal workspaces for today’s tech savvy generation”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

Bates Smart has submitted a development application for 1 Denison Street, Winten Property Group's new commercial office tower in North Sydney. Director Philip Vivian explains the design intent behind the proposal:

"Our aim is to contribute to the public realm of North Sydney with a podium that presents a human scale and connectivity to the surrounding laneways and above which sits a timeless and efficient office building with premium commercial floor plates.

"We designed the podium using cross laminated timber (CLT) to provide a truly connective space between the public realm and the private realm of the workplace. This is a warm place where people are comfortable to meet, work and socialise – an active laneway that is an extension of the work environment. This open and permeable space is literally an expression of the modern workplace as work becomes less private and more integrated into the city; responding to the casual nature of today’s mobile and connected workforce.

The buildings unique form and geometry is derived through careful consideration of how a major tower can reduce its impact on the amenity of its neighbours."

Read more ...

The curative properties of timber
Kristen Whittle interview on Dandenong Mental Health Facility

 “Using timber enabled a seamless integration into a highly visible and sensitive neighbourhood”

Kristen Whittle

Bates Smart

Bates Smart Director Kristen Whittle discusses the reasoning behind using timber in the award winning Dandenong Mental Health facility.

In an extract from the interview with Woodform, Kristen says:

"There’s a huge future for using timber for its natural curative properties. It’s soothing, it’s reassuring, it’s tactile and people relate to it, just like they relate to having a garden. If you put someone into a concrete box and asked them how they were feeling – or measured how they were feeling – and then put them into a garden courtyard with timber, plants and trees you’d get a completely different response. We all know that, because we all experience that feeling and we’re all human because we come from the same DNA, so basically it’s proven as an irrefutable fact. It becomes the natural material for use in healthcare, and is now the go-to material for similar projects."

Read the full article here

Dandenong Mental Health won the AIA National Award for Public Architecture in 2014 along with the Australian Timber Design Awards, Overall Award for Timber Design. The project is a joint venture between Bates Smart and Group GSA.


25 King, Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane
Australia's tallest engineered timber building

 “Timber buildings provide the next generation of workplace environment to enhance wellbeing and productivity”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

25 King is a high performance commercial building and the tallest engineered timber building in Australia. The project utilises Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated timber (Glulam), together they combine the structural strength of concrete and steel but with a low carbon footprint. The building forms part of the $2.9 billion Brisbane Showgrounds redevelopment in Fortitude Valley, 1.5 kilometres from Brisbane's city centre.

Bates Smart Director, Philip Vivian, said “We see timber buildings providing the next generation of workplace for a creative class looking for rich environments that enhance well being and productivity. The timber construction recalls the vernacular ‘Queenslanders’ as well as relating to the historic RNA pavilions, to create a site specific and innovative tall building that connects with nature. The building's ‘verandah’ edge condition maximises connection with the natural environment.”

At ground level, a substantial 54 metre long timber colonnade lined with cafes and restaurants will cater to the need for creative workspaces outside of the office, while establishing a welcoming entry to the building. The side-core floorplate design offers generous 1,588 square metre net leaseable area (NLA) floorplates, with a total of 14,921 square metres (NLA) over 10 floors. The glass façade on the main south elevation maximises natural daylight penetration into the workplace, while sunshades on the other facades decrease energy consumption; further reducing the building's carbon footprint.

Inside, the exposed timber structure and services creates a contemporary studio environment that balances well-being with creative collaboration space. The floorplates integrate a six metre by eight metre module grid of Glulam columns and exposed timber soffits with visual grade CLT cladding to the core, underpinning the honest expression of the structure. Exposed ‘K’ bracing on the floorplate perimeter provides additional structural support.

The building will be the future home of global engineering firm Aurecon. In addition to providing structural and building consultancy services, the company has committed to lease four of the nine office floors.

25 King will be targeting a 6 Star Green Star Design and As Built v1.1 and a NABERS Energy 5 Star rating. In addition to utilising sustainably sourced timber, the tower will integrate rainwater harvesting, energy efficient lighting and optimised airconditioning. Premium end of trip facilities for 152 bicycles and parking for 56 cars is planned.

The use of timber in the 52 metre high office in the Brisbane Showgrounds development addresses our fundamental need to connect to nature and preserve the environment. Construction begins mid 2017, the building is due to be completed at the end of 2018.

Read more ...

The Residences, Victoria Harbour, Docklands, Melbourne
Luxury townhouses informed by the typology of Victorian townhouses

 “The timber screen creates privacy and recalls the scale of individual homes”

Cian Davis

Studio Director, Bates Smart

The Residences is Lendlease's boutique townhouse development in Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour. The site was one of the last development opportunities in the Docklands, adjacent to the community garden located in Geographe Street.

Led by Studio Director, Cian Davis, the Bates Smart team revelled in the opportunity to create an urban sanctuary. Situated in an area populated with high density commercial and residential buildings and experiencing heavy foot traffic, the development required a clever architectural proposition to deal with privacy.

The team proposed operable screens of spotted gum timber around the townhouses, creating private spaces and a veil around the living rooms and rooftop terraces, while retaining a direct connection to the adjacent park. The screens create a sense of privacy and recall the fine scale and detail of individual homes, a unique proposition in the context of Docklands.

Bates Smart Studio Director, Cian Davis explains: “Our approach was informed by the proportions and typology of Victorian townhouses and the screens were a contemporary take on the iron filigree details. The massing of each dwelling has been carefully articulated in order to express individuality and then unified with a timber veil”.

Development of the interiors evolved in conjunction with the architecture, the timber screens reinforce the relationship between the inside and outside through a play on light and shade.

Read more ...

Tubbs View + Hamilton Corner, Lindfield, Sydney
Lessons from the landscape

 “This project has a unique relationship to the bushland context and minimal impact on the landscape”

Guy Lake

Director, Bates Smart

A range of natural and off form materials including blackbutt timber, concrete and face brick allow two housing precincts to quietly integrate within the Sulman Award-winning UTS campus in Lindfield.

Designed by Bates Smart for DHA, the award winning Tubbs View and Hamilton Corner developments integrate 93 apartments with a range of typologies, including terraces with raking plywood soffits, ‘treehouse’ apartments suspended over sandstone walls and cuttings, and dual aspect single level apartments ‘floating’ within the trees, capitalising on views of the valley below.

Bates Smart Director Guy Lake comments: “The bushland context was a key inspiration for the design and we retained a significant amount of vegetation around the development with over 90% indigenous species being used in the new landscape.

“A series of interconnected external spaces were created, linked by pathways along cuttings and elevated walkways, creating communal landscapes for residents to inhabit. We chose spotted gum cladding on vertical surfaces and in bushfire zones for its graceful weathering characteristics and fire-retardent properties.”

The buildings have been carefully located to minimise the impact on the surrounding bushland and are stepped in sympathy with the existing topography to allow a unique relationship with the land. Key features of the design include large sandstone walls reconstructed from material found on site and the use of natural ‘off form’ materials, which give the buildings a unique connection to its bushland context.

The development has excellent environmental credentials and is one of the first residential developments in NSW to undertake formal EnviroDevelopment accreditation, achieving the highest 6 leaves rating.

Learn more about this project.

Read more ...

106 Flinders Street, Melbourne
A cabin in the city, hand crafted in Douglas Fir timber

 “this project signals what the future of work could be – focused on ideas of creation and collaboration”

Kristen Whittle

Director, Bates Smart

Thoreau’s seminal work, “On Walden Pond” examines the virtues of a simple life in a timber cabin in the woods, stripped of excesses, as a means of achieving creative and spiritual heights.

The 106 Flinders Street project is a contemporary manifestation of that philosophy. Designed for an architectural physicist in the heart of Melbourne, this space rethinks the conventional workplace vocabulary and its elements.

It is a contradictory space. Raw, yet embedded with technology. Highly refined, yet hand-crafted. Universally appealing, but at the same time highly individual.

Intended to emulate the natural surrounds of the physicists timber framed and clad house in the Dandenong Ranges, the space brings a much needed respite for inner city working – a 24/7 Walden Pond.

A specialist engineer, the client focuses his work on inventing and researching new sustainable technologies. In recognition of this focus, the prime material is a sustainable timber. Used with minimal wastage, even off cuts have been crafted into furniture and door handles.

Bates Smart worked closely with a meticulous and passionate carpenter who single-handedly crafted the space in douglas fir timber over many months. Few drawings were produced as the space evolved collaboratively between architect and craftsman. What emerged from the design process was clarity of space and materiality through the use of a single material for floors, walls and ceilings.

What started as a cold retail shell is now a blend between lounge, laboratory, kitchen, conferencing room, study and party venue. The space can become a conferencing hub for collaborators or an entertainment venue for business associates.

Bates Smart Director, Kristen Whittle, said: “This is an original solution, this is a one of a kind fitout that breaks trend to invoke new uses and new associations and creates a signalling of what the future of work could be – focused on idea creation and collaboration."

The project has won awards in the Intergrain Timber Vision Awards and the Australian Timber Design Awards and was highly commended in the Interior Design Excellence Awards.

Read more ...


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