Brisbane’s 5 King set to become Australia’s tallest engineered timber building

1 March 2017

A high-performance commercial property in Brisbane, Australia, is set to become the country’s tallest engineered timber building.

As if that’s not enough, the 52-metre high 5 King tower is also expected to grab the title for the largest gross floor area (GFA) for an engineered timber office building anywhere in the world.

The building is situated in the Brisbane Showgrounds development and is designed by architects Bates Smart for Lendlease.

5 King makes use of cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (Glulam) in its construction. Together these are said to combine the structural strength of concrete and steel, but with a low carbon footprint.

“We see timber buildings as the next generation of workplace for a creative class looking for rich environments that enhance wellbeing and productivity,” said Bates Smart director, Philip Vivian.

“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 buildings ‘veranda’ will be an edge condition that maximizes connection with the environment.”

For those that may not be familiar with RNA, it stands for the Royal National Agricultural & Industrial Association of Queensland, founded in 1875. The member-based organisation owns and operates Brisbane Showgrounds.

At ground level, 5 King presents a substantial 54-metre long timber colonnade lined with cafes and restaurants, which will cater to the need for creative workspaces outside of the office while establishing a welcoming entry to the building.

The side-core design offers 1,588 square metre net leaseable area (NLA) floorplates, with a total of 14,921 square metre (NLA) over 10 floors. The glass façade on the main south elevation maximises natural daylight into the workplace, while sunshades on the other facades reduce energy consumption; further reducing the buildings carbon footprint.

Inside, exposed timber structure and services create 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 ceilings 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.

5 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 optimized air-conditioning. Premium end of trip facilities for 152 bicycles and parking for 56 cars is planned.

The office building has been acquired by Australian Impact Investment Fund Manager, Impact Investment Group (IIG). Planning approval for 5 King was achieved in November 2016. Construction begins mid 2017, with the building due to be completed at the end of 2018.

The building forms part of the Aus$2.9 billion Brisbane Showgrounds redevelopment in Fortitude Valley, 1.5 kilometres from Brisbane CBD.

Image: CGI of 5 King building, courtesy of Bates Smart