The Eaves: Mass Timber ‘superstructure’ anchors Brisbane’s West End precinct

Bureau^proberts' award-winning design uses GLT to create green connection and civic edge for Brisbane's West End

Tue 14 Mar 23


The Eaves, located in the heart of West End in Brisbane, Australia, is a stunning mixed-use development – a landmark which has made an instant impact for residents in the local community and surrounding Brisbane sprawl.

Constructed by Hutchinson Builders the project involved the construction of a three-storey retail and restaurant building as well as a series of urban commons for the client – international giant Sekisui House.  

The Eaves is a key connection point of the $1b West Village, in Brisbane. (Photo credit: Hutchinson Builders).

Underpinning the development is the restoration of the 1920s Peters Ice Cream factory heritage buildings, giving a significant part of history back to the community.

The award-winning project was designed by Brisbane-based bureau^proberts, and was recently shortlisted at the World Architecture Festival for Mixed Use Buildings.

Occupying the site that was once home to Peter’s Ice Cream factory, the West End community has increasingly embraced ‘The Eaves’ as its new social hub.

The heritage-listed 1920’s Peter Ice Cream factory still looms large over the precinct. (Photo credit: Sekisui House).

For bureau^proberts Creative Director Liam Proberts the design is as much about the building’s perimeter, as it is about the building itself:

“West Village isn’t the model of big box retail in the suburbs; it’s a lively communal and commercial hub in an existing high street.” “We wanted ‘The Eaves’ to contribute to that dynamic streetscape and fulfill a significant role as a civic connector.”

Liam Proberts, bureau^proberts Creative Director.
Distinctive Mass Timber superstructure creates green connection to the street and beyond.

The building’s timber superstructure acts as a landscape arbour and shade structure, gathering activity around the base of the building and edges to the park. Protruding onto the adjoining Boundary Street it offers an invitation to enter the precinct.

The eaves system is supported by a series of glulam beams and columns that span the length of the building, providing structural support and visual interest.

Hutchinson Builders sourced the glulam beams from a local distributer, the glulam is naturally weather and termite resistant, perfect for the Queensland sun, and was made from a mix of Spotted Gum and Mixed Queensland Hardwoods sourced from PEFC (Responsible Wood) certified forests.

The use of glulam creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that is both modern and timeless.

Glulam or glue laminated timber (GLT) is a mass timber technique that is made by laminating several layers of wood together with adhesives.

It is strong and durable and is often used as a sustainable alternative to steel and concrete – perfect for a project with a strong biophilic intent!

Strong Biophilic Design Values.

The superstructure’s distinctive grid is a nod to the Peter’s Ice Cream heritage brick buildings (since repurposed and a defining presence in the precinct) and creates a permeable urban laneway for alfresco eating and drinking.

It holds into place the clay facade channelling the redbrick masonry of the Ice Cream Factory and forms the backdrop to the public square. The negative spaces, the size of common bricks, within the textural screen are created through the custom-made clay units that are supported by a steel frame.

The project is part of the greater West Village development, the first in Queensland to achieve a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating.

In total 100 mature trees and more than 10,000 plants have been planted across the site ensuring that more than half the site plan is covered by materials that reflect heat, feature water or act as green spaces.

Accordingly, the superstructure not only reflects the heritage structures of the site but and also acts as a trellis for vegetation and as the vegetation matures, creating a seamless, green connection from the street to the public square beyond.

The superstructure opens out to the public space. (Photo Credit: Christopher Frederick Jones)
Connecting communities through green space activation

The primary design was to create a civic edge for the adjacent green spaces whilst establishing new connections to the existing neighbourhood.

bureau^proberts Partner and Project Design Director Kelly Geldard explains:

“The form of the building was shaped by connections and views to the bordering streets and to the precinct’s important heritage buildings.”

“We’ve created a series of connected communal spaces that provide different settings for people to gather at all times of the day,” said Ms Geldard.

Already the design has made a significant impact on the community and has become an instantly recognisable marker in the built fabric of West End that will last generations.

The Boundary Street entrance is one of the most popular green spaces in Brisbane. (Photo credit: Hutchinson Builders).

Today thousands of residents enjoying the precinct daily and the laneways have become a popular weekend stable for residents across Brisbane and beyond.  

A Connective Tissue for the Precinct

In September 2022, the project was recognised at the Good Design Awards. In addition, the project was awarded by Master Builder Queensland and was commended at the Australian Institute of Architects Brisbane Region Awards. The jury noting that the project could be “viewed as the connective tissue for this precinct.”


Bureau^proberts’ award-winning design for The Eaves in Brisbane’s West End is a stunning mixed-use development that serves as a new social hub for the local community. The distinctive mass timber superstructure made with glulam creates a green connection from the street to the public square, offering communal spaces for people to gather and establishing new connections to the surrounding neighbourhood. It has become an instantly recognizable landmark and a connective tissue for the precinct. The project’s strong biophilic intent and commitment to sustainability have earned recognition from several awards, including the Good Design Awards and the Australian Institute of Architects Brisbane Region Awards.


Related Articles