Araucaria’s shining finish at big university build in Queensland

Hoop plywood delivered ready to install at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC).

Tue 14 Mar 23


A Brisbane-based manufacturer of premium grade plywood that has been operating for almost a century has won a major contract to supply the inner linings in the second-stage development of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Moreton Bay campus at Petrie.

Stage 1 of the campus was opened in May 2020. Stage 2 will be finalised in 2023. Footage courtesy of @uscedau

Austral Plywoods at Tennyson, drawing on its 100% PEFC (Responsible Wood) certified planation-grown hoop pine resource from HQPlantations in southeast Queensland, has provided almost 2000 sheets of its pre-finished interior AC i-Hoop and Ariaply for the project.

Scott Matthews, joint CEO at Austral Plywoods, said the plywood was cost effective and was delivered ready to install.

Main products supplied were:

• Both ‘A’ and ‘B’ grade face veneers, iHoop features a clear glue line that enhances the natural colours of Araucaria and is backed by a seven-year coating warranty with acoustic options.

• Ariaply, an award winning pre-finished plywood panel, a favourite of architects, specifiers and interior designers. An exterior grade plywood panel, it is designed for semi-exposed areas such as balcony ceilings, alfresco areas and soffits and is also suitable for internal feature walls and ceiling linings.

Award-winning Brisbane construction company Badge Constructions won the contract to build the second stage of the university.

The company has delivered commercial and industrial projects across Australia and last year won construction awards for multiple university and school builds.

The university building is located opposite the large foundation building, adding a further 12,500 sq m to the existing floor space of 16,000 sq m.

Facilities in the second stage will include additional teaching and learning spaces, research laboratories, an industry hub and event space, student gym and sports hall, sports science facility, student hub, breakout and outdoor spaces and amenities as well as multi-level parking.

The Moreton campus is expected to accommodate 10,000 students by 2030.
(Artist’s impression)

The Moreton campus is expected to accommodate 10,000 students by 2030 and the second-stage construction should be complete in mid-2023.

Vice-chancellor and president Professor Helen Bartlett said the campus was booming and the appointment of a builder was a key milestone in bringing its master plan and vision to life.

“Growth at campus has exceeded expectations since it opened in 2020, and these buildings will provide students with more areas to study, collaborate and socialise,” she said.

“We have the designs from Brisbane-based architectural practice KIRK Studio, and we look forward to Badge Constructions realising these plans over the coming months.”

KIRK and USC commissioned a special flythrough of Stage 2. Footage courtesy of @usceduau.

KIRK brings more than 20 years’ experience in the design and delivery of mass engineered timber buildings.

The studio is an industry leader in sustainable design, focused on the development and delivery of low-carbon buildings through timber-based design.

“The timber construction methodology, adopted by our practice, has been proven to sequester carbon using renewable timber feed stock to significantly reduce construction time, reduce building waste, and support safer and quieter construction sites,” studio director Richard Kirk said.

This method embraces the use of prefabricated Mass Engineered Timber (MET) systems, which can be optimised during the design process to minimise waste and coordinate at a high level of accuracy components of the mass timber.

KIRK projects have included the first timber structure delivered in Australia for more than 60 years with the advanced engineering building at the University of Queensland, and the first timber diagrid structure for the Mon Repos Turtle Centre as featured on Wood Central.

The studio designed Australia’s first multi-storey commercial building with a full mass engineered timber structure using CLT and GLT sourced entirely from Australia – the NIOA Timber Tower.

KIRK are recognised as leaders in sustainable design, the NIOA Timber Tower. (Photo credit: Scott Borrows).

In 2022, the project was awarded by the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects and was shortlisted for the Australian Insitute of Architects National Awards.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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