Property Australia

Transformational timber tower

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal June 22, 2021

Murdoch University’s new four-storey, 130-metre-long academic building will be the largest mass timber construction in Western Australia.


  Why we love this project:

  • The building’s long spans of timber are super flexible, allowing the university to adapt to an evolving future
  • A large roof will boast a photovoltaic array, producing renewable energy
  • The project will create around 1,400 construction jobs, according to construction contractor Multiplex.


Multiplex is commencing works on the new academic building at Murdoch University’s South Street campus.

Darren McKee, Murdoch University’s chief operating officer, says the building is an “exciting step forward” in the development of “an advanced, sustainable, technology-enabled precinct”.

The building will extend from Discovery Way, which will become the university’s new primary address, to the centre of the campus. It will establish direct connections between the academic core and the broader knowledge and health precinct which includes Fiona Stanley and St John of God hospitals.

Multiplex regional director Chris Palandri says the new academic building will “showcase Murdoch University’s sustainability ethos while upholding campus amenity, planning, built form and landscape heritage”.

The design was delivered in a partnership between Lyons, The Fulcrum Agency, Officer Woods and Silver Thomas Hanley.

The project’s mass engineered timber structure, comprised of glulam and cross laminated timber, will be sourced from sustainable suppliers in both Australia and Europe.

Wood has the lowest embodied energy of all common building materials. Around 50 per cent of wood’s dry weight is carbon, making it a natural carbon sink, according to research by Planet Ark.

Palandri says the project will “foster WA industry expertise in mass engineered timber projects and will show case to the broader property and construction industry, and in particular current industry students, the type of innovation we can be applying to all future construction projects”.

The building is targeting a 6 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

The project builds upon Multiplex’s recent delivery of other large scale mass engineered timber buildings for La Trobe and Monash universities in Melbourne.

Construction is expected to be completed in early 2023.

Murdoch University 2