Timber Building to Rise Near Brisbane’s Olympic Village Site

The 5-storey office tower is designed by Baber Studio and is part of a growing number of mass timber developments across Southeast Queensland

Tue 28 May 24


Mass timber is on the rise in Brisbane, home to the 2032 Olympic Games, with Barber Studio behind a new five-storey “expressive timber structure” made from Australian-sourced cross-laminated timber and glulam – with the new building, the latest in the reactivation of Racecourse Road, one of Brisbane’s most famous “destination streets.” 

As reported by the Urban Developer today, the 18 Racecourse Road site—which neighbours the Hamilton Hotel—is close to the site of the proposed 2032 Athletes Village, which Wood Central exclusively revealed last year will also be constructed from mass timber.

Under the proposal, a 24-metre high, 948-square-metre office building will rise on a narrow 478-square-metre site, with planning reports lodged by the developers, Godfrey Esmonde’s Holm Developments revealing that:

“The architectural design is defined by an expressive timber structure behind a shaded transparent facade that includes a combination of glazing, metal cladding and a lightweight perforated metal screen.”

Wood Central understands that four levels of commercial office space will sit above a ground-floor foyer, with an adjacent subtropical landscaped “outdoor room” with a slender frontage to Racecourse Road. In addition, glazed western and eastern facades would provide views to the city and down leafy Racecourse Road to the river, respectively. 

Untitled design 2024 05 27T143309.603
Renders of the proposed timber office development at Racecourse Road, Hamilton, on Brisbane’s north shore. (Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council)

According to the design statement, the timber building “offers a unique identity integral to its materiality and expressed structure,” with mass timber providing “a visual demonstration of the project’s pursuit of sustainable development, with a significantly reduced carbon footprint”.

In addition, “using a palette of subtly varying, light-coloured metal profiles and diffuse translucent screens, the building façade seeks to enhance the natural qualities of the timber interior it is adjacent to and the green foliage of the exterior treed context.”

The design includes a range of energy consumption and greenhouse gas reduction strategies—notably, “engineered timber and light-coloured cladding to reduce heat loads on the external building fabric as well as solar panels on its saw-tooth profiled roof.”

Importantly, “the majority of the building’s structure is carbon negative, with significant carbon sequestration values through the use of renewable, re-growable Australian timber.”

Brisbane’s rising timber skyline

The new building continues a trend of mid-rise and high-rise timber buildings rising across Brisbane. 

Last year, Wood Central reported that the former site of Brisbane’s oldest undertaker – which borders Plywood and Timber Houses – the long-time home to the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia and Timber Queensland – would be converted into a four-storey data centre using mass timber. 

Plans have been lodged with the Brisbane City Council for Australias latest mass timber building which is to be developed on a site next to Plywood House in Queensland Wood Central 1.png
Last year, Asia Pacific Internet Development Trust (APIDT) earmarked the former site of Alex Gow Funerals – at 56 Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead – to be one of Australia’s largest mass timber buildings – by footprint. (Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council)

Whilst the Queensland government has committed to using mass timber in its Olympic infrastructure – as part of a pledge to use cleaner, greener and more sustainable construction materials.

In April 2023, a South Australian delegation travelled to Queensland to tour four recently constructed mass timber buildings, including 25 King Street—formerly the world’s tallest timber engineering building—and Monterey Apartments, which for a time was the southern hemisphere’s tallest all-timber building.

Hamilton Northshore the site of the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games Athletes Village Photo credit dsdilgp.qld .gov .au Wood Central 1 2 1024x681.png
Hamilton Northshore is the site of the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games Athletes Village (Photo Credit:
Kim Baber and the push to use mass timber in buildings

Kim Baber, the studio’s principal behind the Racecourse Road design, is part of a growing breed of architects working with mass timber fabricators to create buildings that explore “material, space, and structure.”

As well as running Baber Studio, Mr Baber is also a fellow of the UQ School of Architecture and a member of the ARC Advance Timber Hub – and is sure to feature in the World Timber Engineering Conference, which is coming to Brisbane for the first time, next year.

Brisbane-based Kim Baber of Baber Studio is part of a new wave of architects using 3D-modelling to build the next generation of timber buildings (Photo Credit: Responsible Wood)
Brisbane-based Kim Baber of Baber Studio is part of a new wave of architects using 3D modelling to build the next generation of timber buildings (Photo Credit: Responsible Wood)

Australia is now one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for cross-laminated timber, and this is not before time, according to Mr Baber, who was awarded a Gottstein Trust Fellowship in 2016 to study timber architecture and fabrication.

The project, The Expressive Capacity of Timber in Architecture, saw Mr Baber review technologies in Austria, Switzerland and Japan, “seeking to identify why the use of expressed timber structure in construction may be considered beneficial and pragmatic…can be implemented effectively in construction.”

Since then, Mr Baber has travelled to Oslo, Norway, as part of the ARC Avance Timber Hub, where he co-presented a paper on timber’s fire resistance at the World Timber Engineering Conference.

  • To learn more about the 18 Racecourse Road development, visit the Brisbane City Council Planning website here.


  • Wood Central

    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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