Sydney now becomes the city incorporating the tallest commercial hybrid timber tower which is a 180 meters tall office building designed by the SHoP Architects based in Newyork and BVN based in Australia with the structural and facade design undertaken by engineering firm Eckersley o’callaghan. With its construction process expected to begin in the coming year and aimed to be completed by the year 2025, the building is intended to serve as a headquarters for the Australian software company Atlassian, a YHA hostel, and a center for a few startup companies and would cater to approximately twenty-five thousand workers.

World’s tallest commercial hybrid timber tower for Sydney revealed by SHoP Architects and BVN Design - Sheet1

The tower is sited alongside the Central Station of New South Wales, one of the city’s heritage, amidst an emerging tech hub, making a stark impression with its distinctive approach of construction, sustainability, and spatial disposition. 

“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” – Farquhar, Founder of Atlassian

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The tower is a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces inter-positioned with each other, forming sets of mega floors termed as ‘neighborhoods’ into the structure, hence creating the required bifurcation of spaces vertically, and enabling the coexistence of diverse activities. The mass of the tower is of timber supplemented with the apt implementation of vegetation and the open spaces which in turn creates a comfortable work environment for the workers, and harmony within the spaces, while the outer shell is of steel and glass that gets attached to the timber mass. This steel exoskeleton facade which wraps throughout the perimeter of the structure not only helps maintain the appropriate porosity of the facade of urban commercial workspace but also has a vital contribution to the sustainable approach which the designers have implemented into the design. 

 The design acknowledges the city’s temperate climate with the context of its site and the surrounding urban environment, along with recognizing the importance of nature and ways to contribute towards these aspects. The design has sought to employ a hundred percent renewable energy strategy while reducing its carbon footprints by 50 percent in comparison to the typical structures. 

It’s a facade, therefore, has built-in solar panels and electricity generating systems installed within, hence reducing its energy consumption by 50 percent and incorporating the process of green power generation in the facade itself. The facade also consists of self-shading potential to tackle the excessive heat owing to Sydney’s climate and facilitates an adequate amount of natural light to enter through its porous steel skeleton. Through these sustainable practices, the designers aim to reach net-zero carbon emissions approximately until the year 2050.

World’s tallest commercial hybrid timber tower for Sydney revealed by SHoP Architects and BVN Design - Sheet3

The tower, unlike the other conventional commercial centers, provides an environment that is open, spirited, and adopts natural light and ventilation strategy over artificial lighting and mechanical ventilation making the space more dynamic. Its inclusion of elevated open spaces alongside the workspaces stimulates a work-life which pushes the limits beyond the regular jobs to provide an experience that is intimate, optimistic, and worthwhile. The design on a micro-level too manages to create a composed ambiance through the overlooking spaces, the walkways created through the defining trails and maintaining adequate visual connection therefore harmonizing the spaces.

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The approach of the design which extends beyond the archetypal urban perspectives creates a distinctive model reflecting the need of concern for the conditions of the existing urban commercial workplaces and lifestyle and the rather frequent exclusion of nature, vegetation, and openness. 

The 40-storey tower amuses the viewer with its exclusive take on the ‘neighborhoods’ and their integration, and the significantly unique approach in the incorporation of materials, enabling the addition of the tower into Sydney’s list of architectural marvels. The tower makes its stark impression in the skyline of Sydney while explicitly reflecting its principles and intent. 

The tower sets a new height in terms of sustainability, incorporation of materials, and the approach and scope towards the urban and commercial sectors. 

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Manasi prefers writing over talking to express herself. Being an architecture student, she believes that designs and their resulting comprehensions are a mirror to look within oneself. She is an optimist who is considerate towards her surroundings and more so people. Structures, their stories and photographs fascinate her.