Key Stakeholders Inspect Mass Timber Projects in Olympic City

South Australian delegation travel to Queensland to visit 25 King, a ‘royal performer’ in CLT construction

Tue 18 Apr 23


Government regulators, key developers and builders flew 955 km from Adelaide to the Olympic City today to pay homage to mass timber ‘royalty’ – 25 King.

The delegation, led by South Australian Minister for Regional Development and Forest Industries Clare Scriven, took part in an intensive two-day inspection of engineered timber structures and research facilities across Brisbane.

An initiative of the South Australian Forest Products Association, delegates on the CLT timber study tour were welcomed at 25 King by executives of the builder-owner Lendlease, anchor tenant Aurecon and Timber Queensland, guest of the tour dinner on Wednesday.

One of the most innovative buildings to ascend in Brisbane’s inner city and opened in 2018 as part of the $2.9 billion renewal of the Brisbane RNA showgrounds, 25 King was for a time the largest mass timber office building by gross floor area in the world.

As it stands Milwaukee’s Ascent MKE Building is the world’s tallest timber building, surpassing Norway’s 18-story Mjösa Tower in July 2022.

However, with the proposed Milligan Group’s hybrid timber tower and the Atlassian Central Tower under construction, Australia is set to retake the mantle.

Introducing 25 King, the building that for a time was the tallest timber building in the world. Footage courtesy of @AureconGroupBi2L

Speakers at the opening session, moderated by Ralph Belperio, Major Projects Director at Aurecon, included Justin Davies, Executive Director, Queensland Development, Lendlease, and Aurecon’s Evelyn Storey, Managing Director, Queensland, Quentin Jackson, Principal, Sustainability, and Callum Lillywhite, Associate, Buildings.

The tour continued to Monterey Apartments at Kangaroo Point, a multi-storey CLT building currently Australia’s tallest residential timber tower, and the ARC Research Hub at the University of Queensland, which is working on advanced solutions to transform tall timber buildings.

In 2022 Gardner Vaughan Group (developer of Monterey Apartments) produced a time lapse for Monterey. At the time it was the tallest timber building in the Southern Hemisphere. Footage courtesy of @gardnervaughan7418

Delegates on Wednesday will visit the Moreton Bay campus construction site Stage 2 at the University of the Sunshine Coast for inspections and presentations by Luke Anderson, Building Services Manager, Kate Robertson, Senior Project Manager, and Chris Carey, Project Manager for partner BADGE Constructions.

Stage 1 of the campus was opened in May 2020. Stage 2 will be finalised in 2023. Last month, Wood Central’s Senior Editor Jim Bowden covered the project in a special feature. Footage courtesy of @uscedau

The Brisbane tour finished with an inspection of NIOA’s $11 million Timber Tower offices near the Brisbane Airport, an experimental project and the first non-residential commercial building in Australia to use locally grown and manufactured mass engineered timber in a vertical structure.

The NIOA Timber Tower – footage courtesy of @BESIXWatpac

This increases the column-free useable floor area with the added benefit of providing a more solid façade to provide an efficient building envelope. The resulting effect of an exposed timber structure, smaller intimate column-free floor plates, and generous windows produces a completely new typology for the commercial office.

Hyne Timber and Xlam supplied the sustainable engineered products sourced from plantation-grown timber.

NIOA is the largest Australian-owned supplier of munitions to the Australian and New Zealand defence forces and law enforcement agencies.

All four mass timber buildings were designed by Richard Kirk Architect – who has established itself as an expert in mass timber construction.

SA Forestry Centre of Excellence

Clare Scriven, who started a lively questions and answer session at 25 King, was formerly State Manager South Australia and National Manager, Softwood Manufacturing, for the Australian Forest Products Association (2016-17).

She is enthusiastic about the strategic plan for the Forestry Centre of Excellence launched by the South Australian Government, the vision behind a $15 million 10-year collaborative project.

Tree Breeding Australia are one of the partners involved in the Forestry Centre of Excellence. On Monday, Wood Central covered the 21st anniversary of its TREEPLAN program.
Tree Breeding Australia are one of the partners involved in the Forestry Centre of Excellence. On Monday, Wood Central covered the 21st anniversary of its TREEPLAN program.

The centre, the first of its kind in South Australia, will promote long-term research and development capability to enhance the Green Triangle’s economic prosperity “generating more jobs and investment in the region”.

The strategic plan was developed with the region’s forest and timber sector and creates a framework to place the Forestry Centre of Excellence as a central hub that focuses on innovation, sustainability and the creation of new market opportunities from Australia and across the globe.

The centre’s activities will support the full forestry supply chain including plantation management, harvesting and haulage and timber processing. It also aims to cover the technical, safety, and training aspects relevant to those sectors, while building greater connections with First Nations people.

Areas identified as forest research priorities include water, fire, breeding, wood products, data analytics, carbon, silviculture and environmental management.

Note quid pro quo

CLT timber study tour delegates were proud to boast that veteran Adelaide developer Barrie Harrop of Thrive Construct will build the world’s tallest timber hotel in the city centre, and a second timber hotel in regional Whyalla, as part of a $300 million investment in tourism infrastructure in South Australia.

In July 2022, Cox Architecture realised designs for the world's tallest timber hotel at 187 Victoria Square in Adelaide.. (Image credit: Cox Architecture)
In July 2022, Cox Architecture realised designs for the world’s tallest timber hotel at 187 Victoria Square in Adelaide.. (Image credit: Cox Architecture)

The 31-level CBD hotel, rising 100 m, will be built out of CLT and ‘green steel’ at Victoria Square. Due to be open in 2024 with an end value of $170 million, the carbon-neutral timber tower designed by Cox Architecture will feature 324 rooms, 22 residential apartments, a sky terrace and a rooftop bar.

Perhaps their Queensland colleagues might consider a tour to the City of Churches sometime soon.


  • 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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