For Analog to Digital: the Low Carbon Re-design of Timber Construction

Adam Strong
Managing Director / Partner
Strong Build, Sydney

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned we only have 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum 1.5°C to avoid irreversible damage. With transport and buildings contributing over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, we must act now to reduce the carbon emissions of our sector and seek to build low carbon or zero net carbon buildings.

Building with timber—a technique often associated with building booms in the late 1800s—offers a way forward in the 21st century. Timber building construction produces 74% less carbon than comparable concrete and steel building construction; timber buildings continue to sequester carbon after they complete. At the same time, advances in engineered timber materials and building techniques have made this construction easier, faster and economically feasible.

This talk will situate the historic use of mass timber as a precursor to today’s engineered timber design and construction practices. Case studies will include the adaptive reuse of two 19th century buildings into 21st century workplaces, as well as a look into 25 King in Australia, completed in 2018.

25 King has set a new global precedent for engineered timber construction, creating the tallest timber commercial building with the largest floorplate in the world. The building showcases leading timber engineering and an honest expression of materials that differentiate it from typical concrete and steel developments. This is not a demonstration or vanity project, rather a commercially viable alternative to steel and concrete in mid-scale commercial office buildings.

This completed building will be used to demonstrate how a traditional technology has been re-designed for a low carbon future.

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