UQ’s timber building a show-stopper

The University of Queensland’s advanced engineering building is an inspirational showcase of a ‘living building’.

Designed by Richard Kirk Architects in partnership with Hassell, the 5 Star Green Star rated building is an award-winning demonstration of Australian excellence in environmental architecture. As cars, phones, computers and digital devices are getting smarter, so too should buildings. This was the Architects motivation.

The building is also home to the GHD Auditorium; an engineering masterpiece set to inspire those who learn within its walls for decades to come. The decision to construct the auditorium entirely out of timber was not only to achieve the aesthetic interaction between the natural environment, but also the structural functionality and environmental impact of the building.

The auditorium’s 215-tonne roof is supported entirely by impressive timber members that span the entire 30-metre-wide space. Hyne Timber’s prefabricated GLT components, all Responsible Wood certified, were grown, harvested, milled and engineered in Queensland. The hardwood beams were Hyne beam 21 which are unique to Hyne Timber.

Rob Mansell, Hyne Timber’s Commercial GLT Business Development Manager said this was a great example of working closely throughout the design phase, “Where an average project might involve a few pages of drawings, this particular project involved over 2000 pages of drawings. Being involved with the detailing prior to fabrication allowed for early discovery and resolution of conflicts, and coordination with other building components and services”.

“Our offsite prefabrication service also ensured accuracy and time efficiency with the onsite installation – cutting down the overall construction phase timeline considerably. The assembled trusses were so large that they had to be transported in the middle of the night but they could be assembled in place and when completed, lifted in a single day!” Mr Mansell concluded.

The project Architects won the Engineered Timber category in the Australian Timber Design Awards and later took out three categories in the National Architecture Awards for:

- Public Architecture Awards – The Sir Zelman Cowan Award;
- Interior Architecture – The Emil Sodersten Award; and
- Sustainable Architecture – National Award.

In the latter, jury awards citations acknowledged the use of Queensland timber, the 5 Star Green Rating of the building and acknowledgement that this “spectacular use of timber makes the auditorium a delightful space to occupy – radiating geometry”. The jury went on to further acknowledge a softness more usually associated with residential architecture because of their use of timber.

Source: www.responsiblewood.org.au

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