World’s tallest hybrid timber tower to house Atlassian HQ in Sydney

Australian tech giant Atlassian has unveiled the design for its Sydney headquarters by New York-based Shop Architects and Australian practice BVN.

To be built using mass timber construction, the tower is set to become the tallest hybrid timber structure in the world, standing at 40 storeys tall.

It will be located adjacent to Sydney’s Central Station and will be part of the NSW government’s planned technology precinct for the area.

The company selected the design team following a global search. “To create a development that catalyzes the tech precinct for Australia and as the first anchor tenant, Atlassian will set the benchmark for sustainability for the precinct,” BVN co-CEO Ninotschka Titchkosky told ArchitectureAU.

The building will target a 50 percent reduction in embodied carbon and energy compared to conventional construction. Atlassian has also committed to operating on 100 percent renewable energy with zero emissions, by using energy efficient design, such as natural ventilation and planted terraces throughout the building, as well as generating green power on site through solar panels integrated into the building’s facades, which will be a glass and steel exoskeleton tied to the structure.

Atlassian's Sydney headquarters tower by Shop Architects and BVN will be built using a hybrid timber construction method.

Atlassian’s Sydney headquarters tower by Shop Architects and BVN will be built using a hybrid timber construction method.

“The building is designed in four storey ‘habitats’, each habitat has a park that is fully naturally ventilated, the innovative ventilation strategy for the building also permeates the floorplates,” Titchkosky said.

To achieve the reduction in embodied carbon, the building will be constructed with a combination of mass timber, concrete and steel. “For a lower height building you can build totally in timber, at 40 storeys we need to hybridize the structural system,” Titchkosky said. “We have worked with some of the world’s best structural engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan and TTW to develop the structural solution. This will be the tallest hybrid timber structure in the world.”

Other similar projects around the world include the Terrace House development in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, designed by Shigeru Ban. It was touted as the world tallest hybrid timber building at 19 storeys when designs were unveiled in 2017. It is currently under construction and is due for completion in 2020.

Atlassian’s Sydney headquarters will accommodate 4,000 staff.

The existing heritage-listed Parcels Shed building, which houses Railway Square YHA, will also be integrated into the new development and act as a public space, and the 480-bed YHA on site incorporated into the lower levels of the new building.

Shop Architects founding principal William Sharples said, “Our collective work around the world focuses on elevating the experience of the public realm in urban environments, so we really welcome this opportunity to work with such wonderful partners to create a high-performance landmark for Sydney’s new tech district, at ground level and in the skyline.”

Titchkosky added, “Shop and BVN are a 50/50 design collaboration based on shared values and attitudes to architecture. We are both strong advocates for sustainable design, smarter construction and human centred environments. Our shared experiences make for a rich collaboration.

“This project is not just about being green, it’s a whole systems approach to design, construction and habitation. It will demonstrate that change is possible and has many advantages for the planet, our cities and business. We can’t keep doing things the way we have been for the past 50 years and expect different outcomes. We need the development and construction community to see the potential in new ways of doing things and get on board if we are to make the impact we need.”

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