Australia’s tallest timber building to top-up Melbourne Central

Diversified property major GPT Group will build Australia’s largest timber building, a premium 12-level office tower, on top of the Melbourne Central shopping mall, which itself sits above a metro tunnel train station.

The new wood and glass tower – called Frame – designed by ARM Architecture will be made of cross laminated timber, a lightweight factory manufactured material used in innovative timber structures.

Engineered timber offers weight, design and sustainability advantages, helping speed up construction and reduce waste, making it the rising star of commercial real estate design.

GPT owns a series of interconnected buildings spanning two city blocks that make up Melbourne Central.

They include the main shopping mall with its cone glass ceiling on the corner of Latrobe and Swanston streets, above Melbourne Central train station. Interconnected is a 57-level office tower at 360 Elizabeth Street and to the south, across Little Lonsdale, is an extension of the centre which stretches to Lonsdale Street opposite Melbourne Emporium.

The developer’s new office tower with its 19,400 square metres of office and retail space will sit above the existing three-level Lonsdale Street building which includes a large underground car park.

Other Australian cities have similar structures. Sydney’s Barangaroo is home to a large timber office, the six level International House, and another 10-level timber office designed by Bates Smart has opened in Brisbane.

GPT’s building will have a hotel-inspired skylobby on level five connected to a rooftop native garden, espresso bar, wellness and retail tenants.

Above will be 10 storeys of “warehouse-style” commercial office space with 2000 sq/m floorplates, said GPT’s office and logistics head Matthew Faddy who described it as “ground-breaking”.

ARM principal Ian McDougall said the rooftop retail precinct was a “unique concept where city dwellers and visitors gather to learn, interact, have fun and be inspired”.

When complete, the building will have a five-star NABERS energy and water rating, a five-star Green Star and WELL gold standard.

Colliers International has been appointed as leasing agents.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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