25 King: Timber can be the future for commercial property

People at work in the completed timber office building

An innovative, flexible, sustainable design that blurs the gap between workplace and home, it has a remarkably lightweight structure, something crucial to its location over a tunnel.  

25 King, a ten storey, 15,000sqm commercial building in the Australian city of Brisbane, is the tallest and largest timber commercial buildings in Australia – setting new standards for the use of timber in place of steel and concrete as a low-carbon alternative for mid-sized projects.

Designed and built by Aurecon and Lendlease, the innovative project has been given an Award of Excellence by global leaders and has previously awards that include the World’s Best Tall Building Under 100 metres from the CTBUH. It has achieved a six-star Green Star rating and a six-star NABERS energy rating and has also been certificated as carbon neutral by Climate Active.

Why ten storeys of timber matters
Creating a workplace fit for the future, commercial buildings need to be economically viable to design, construct and operate, and to be fit-for-purpose for the end-users. Since COVID-19, the criteria for viable commercial buildings has gone a step further, needing to be sustainable and flexible to attract more climate-conscious tenants. 

So a timber building can only prove its worth if it works well as a building. 25 King does this, providing an innovative, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective design that provides a blurring of the gap between workplace and home. It is also a remarkably lightweight structure, something crucial to its location over a tunnel, further supporting the case that timber can play a much larger role in the design of mid-sized buildings for cities all over the world.

That is important as the world moves towards more sustainable low-carbon construction as timber dramatically reduces embedded carbon – by 74% in comparison to equivalent concrete buildings – while also allowing for a low waste, energy efficient, cost effective building. 25 King also incorporates rooftop solar power and rainwater capture – features that building design needs to incorporate more widely.

The timber used is sustainably sourced, PEF certified and EPD verified. That means the 3,402 Spruce Pine trees used in its structure will take only eight hours in total to grow back.

“Aurecon had a very clear vision. As a company they had made a big commitment to what sustainability was all about and they really wanted to push the boundaries,” explained Michael Greene, regional director, head of tenant representation for JLL Australia.

Sustainable buildings increasingly lead to higher returns around the world and attract higher-quality tenants, resulting in lower vacancy risk – an economic imperative that has become all the more important as a result of changing working practices through the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Award of Excellence has been given, as part of the 2021 FIDIC Project Awards, to eight global projects on the basis of sustainability and impact, and 25 Kings points the way forward for more sustainable buildings around the world.

This project was nominated by Aurecon, Australia. 

Timber being lifted into place by a crane
Timber being assembled on site for 25 Kings