Property Australia

Project of the Week: Crowd pleaser & constrution game-changer


International House is not only a construction industry ‘game changer’. It shows how innovative sustainable design is also a crowd pleaser that can enhance the fabric of our cities.

Australia’s first engineered timber office, International House Sydney, took home the nation’s most prestigious property prize – the Rider Levett Bucknall Australian Development of the Year – on Friday 17 May in Sydney.

Lendlease was presented with the coveted honour at the Property Council of Australia / Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards.

This year, 152 finalists competed for national recognition in 20 categories.

“International House demonstrates that mass timber construction is a viable alternative to conventional construction and stands as a beacon of innovation and sustainable design excellence,” says the Property Council’s NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald.

The judges applauded International House’s outstanding green credentials, including a 6 Star Green Star rating.

Designed by Tzannes architects and completed in April 2017, International House Sydney stands six storeys high. Each floor was constructed entirely from cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber, including floors, columns, walls, roof, lift shafts and stairs. The timber structure is supported by a ground retail level of conventional concrete.

The building delivers an open, flexible floorplate, with a total floor space of 7,000 sqm and a striking design featuring recycled hardwood colonnades and an exposed timber structure.

Timber is around 30 per cent lighter than concrete or steel, potentially cutting crane, scaffolding and foundation costs. Economic modelling undertaken by Forest and Wood Products Australia has found timber construction can cut schedules by 15 per cent. Engineered timber also has a carbon footprint up to 60 per cent lower than other materials such as concrete and steel.

“The well-documented health and sustainability benefits of using timber in the built environment have contributed substantially to its market appeal, securing a single, well-known financial services tenant for the entire building,” Fitzgerald says.

“Around 3,500 cubic metres of sustainably-grown and recycled timber was used in construction, which saved thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions by cutting down on concrete. The use of natural materials makes International House a warm and welcoming building that also promotes an innovative approach to sustainable growth.”

Lendlease was the recipient of the RLB NSW Development of the Year award in 2019 for International House Sydney, and in 2018 for Barangaroo South.

“Lendlease has set an ambitious carbon-neutral goal for the entire Barangaroo South precinct, and International House Sydney contributes to this goal while also showcasing our industry’s contribution to a low-carbon future,” Fitzgerald concludes.