Net Zero Timber Pavilion A Test Case for Brisbane 2032 Games

The Throws Pavillion is the first centre of its type to achieve net-zero certification in the southern hemisphere.

Tue 22 Aug 23


As Brisbane prepares to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the new Queensland Academy of Sports Indoor National Throws Centre of Excellence has embraced mass timber to achieve net zero certification.

Known as ‘The Throws Pavillion’, the centre will train future shot put, discus, javelin, hammer throw and decathlon stars for the Paris, LA, Brisbane and many games thereafter!

Designed by Brisbane architects Phillips Smith Conwell and constructed by Hutchinson Builder, the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects has recognised the project “as an inspiring test case for the economical delivery of sustainable sporting facilities.”

Using a combination of low-carbon construction materials, including glulam and low-carbon concrete, the centre prioritises ventilation to minimise impact.

The facility is considered a test case for the Brisbane games, the first to follow IOC’s now-mandated climate-positive games requirements.
The project team spoke to Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport Chelsea Warr, CEO of Queensland Academy of Sport, Senior Architect Andrew Caldwell, and 2 x World Champion javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber. Footage courtesy of @XLam-Australasia.

As revealed by Wood Central in June, locally sourced mass timber is part of the Queensland State Government’s plans for Brisbane 2032.

Reflecting on the new centre Stirling Hinchliffe, the Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport, reiterated the state’s commitment to the games. 

“We are committed to the global community about having a carbon-neutral games.”

“You can do high quality, beautiful buildings (like the Throws Pavillion) in a way that also delivers on a sustainability outcome,” Minister Stirling said.

“This didn’t happen purely as inspiration. It was collaboration.”

Australian discus athlete Matthew Denny with Minister Hinchliffe at the National Throws Centre of Excellence opening in Brisbane. (Photo Credit: Queensland Academy of Sport)

The collaboration involved the client, Stadiums Queensland and the QLD Academy of Sport; XLam and Hyne Timber, who supplied the Glulam; Bligh Tanner, the structural engineer and Fabritecture, who provided the fabric for the centre’s skin.

The design is “strongly influenced by an athlete’s sporting function, connecting movement with structure,” delivering what is now considered the best training facility in the southern hemisphere.

The Throws Centre of Excellence includes dedicated areas for multiple throw disciplines. (Photo Credit: Queensland Academy of Sport)

It features three distinctive building shapes, including:

  • A strip for the javelin linear runup and throw.
  • A cone for the helical spin of the discus and hammer.
  • A flat plane for the push of the shot-put.

Local supply was a non-negotiable with Glulam sourced from HQPlantations Queensland pine plantations before being sawn at Hyne Timber’s Tuan Mill near Maryborough and manufactured into Glue Laminated Timber at the local Glulam plant in Maryborough.

Queensland supply was a non-negotiate for Stadiums Queensland. The glulam used in the project was sourced from local pine plantations, processed and manufactured in Maryborough. (Photo Credit: Angus Martin Photography)

By Queenslanders, for Queenslanders…

Reflecting on the project, which secured the 2023 Queensland Architecture Award for Public Architecture, Stadiums Queensland said, “The carbon-neutral facility, funded through the Queensland government, QAS, Athletics Australia and the AIS with support from Stadiums Queensland, provides consistent conditions for throws athletes to train regardless of weather conditions.”

“As the QAS looks towards Paris, Los Angeles and Brisbane 2032, it is critical that we provide high-tech, world-class, high-performance environments for training athletes.”

Stadiums Queensland, which managed the design and construction project, required a zero-carbon building while controlling the project’s cost.

A team of experts delivered the vision with the pavilion the first of its type anywhere in the southern hemisphere and one of only a handful worldwide.

The centre was a collaboration between the AIS, Queensland Academy of Sport, Athletics Australia and the Queensland Government. (Photo Credit: Queensland Academy of Sport)

To coincide with National Forestry Day, Shane Robertson, General Manager of XLam, is one of several panel members at the Timber Queensland’ Timber 2032 Forum’ hosted at the University of Queensland’s ARC Advance Timber Hub.

“From carbon sequestration to locally grown and manufactured timber, mass timber solutions for Athletes’ Villages, stadiums, and other Olympic infrastructure are the perfect solution to deliver carbon-positive games with a lasting legacy,” Mr Robertson said.

“Timber needs to be specified from the onset, followed by the engagement of experts in the field.”

“You can’t design a building in concrete and steel then attempt to convert it to timber and still gain the many benefits including design and cost efficiencies which largely come from the prefabrication, lighter weight material and speed of construction.”

The forum, attended by Government executives and Olympic decision-makers, will directly address how Queensland’s timber industry can help deliver climate-positive Olympic and Paralympic games.

Footage courtesy of @7News.

As reported last week, the Queensland government has broken with precedent and will keep the Olympic Delivery Authority – the group that oversees Games infrastructure – inside the public sector.

“Engaging local industry and generating jobs is a crucial priority for the Palaszczuk government as Queensland’s golden decade of opportunity continues,” a state government spokesperson said.

“Brisbane 2032 has a Queensland-first procurement strategy, underpinned by the Buy Queensland policy written into the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Arrangements Act.”


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    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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