Japanese, Australian firms collaborate on world’s tallest timber tower

Construction firms from Japan and Australia have started work on a 182-meter-high skyscraper in central Sydney in a collaboration to build what will be the world’s tallest hybrid-timber building using an eco-friendly wood product.

Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp and Sydney-based Built Pty Ltd plan to complete construction on the 39-story “Atlassian Central” in 2026, to be used for offices, accommodation and retail outlets, the companies said recently in press releases.

The companies aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions during construction by 50 percent or more compared to a conventional building project and operate the tower entirely with renewable energy, they said.

The seventh floor upwards will feature a hybrid-timber structure that consists of a combination of steel frames and cross-laminated timber, or a wood panel product made from glued layers of sawn lumber.

The product is said to emit less CO2 in production and be lighter when compared with concrete, while it can be recycled for other uses, according to the Japanese construction firm.

Reinforced concrete will be used below the seventh floor, including the basement, the two builders said.

“Nothing about this project is typical,” said Built CEO and Managing Director Brett Mason in a company’s press release.

“It has been designed and developed to be a proof of concept for what the future of buildings should look like that are low impact on the environment in both construction and operation.”

In Japan, Obayashi has been emphasizing in recent years the construction of low-CO2 emission wooden buildings and increasing the use of the eco-friendly lumber product.

In March, the Japanese firm completed an 11-floor, 44-meter-tall building in Yokohama near Tokyo, the tallest in the nation to have its main structural components such as columns, floors and walls all made of wood, it said.

Obayashi “aims to achieve a sustainable society by expanding and promoting the use of recyclable resources such as timber and wooden materials,” Obayashi said, adding that it will address social challenges such as achieving carbon neutrality.

In 2016, Obayashi and Built signed a strategic partnership to cooperate on select large-scale construction opportunities in Australia.

© KYODO