Property Australia

Why La Trobe's timber tower is the tops

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal April 5, 2021

Victoria’s largest mass timber project is complete, as La Trobe University unveils its first student accommodation buildings on campus since the 1970s. 


Why we love this project: 

  • 2,700-plus individual mass timber elements, made from cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glued-laminated timber (glulam), will slash the project’s embodied carbon 
  • The modular façade’s thermal envelope boosts energy efficiency, leading to a 5 Star Green Star rating 
  • The use of pod bathrooms ensured fast delivery and minimised the impact on campus. 


The new student accommodation forms part of La Trobe University’s ambitious plan to transform its Bundoora campus.  

The project has delivered an additional 624 student accommodation beds across two separate six-level buildings linked by common amenities and landscaping.  

Constructed by Multiplex, the building was almost entirely made from CLT and glulam. Using CLT can halve a building’s embodied carbon relative to a concrete structure, while also delivering a non-toxic, fire-resistant asset with a long lifecycle. 070421 - Project of the Week - La Trobe Uni 1

The project, which has achieved a 5 Star Green Star rating for design and is targeting a 5 Star Green Star rating for completed construction, was designed and oriented to ensure most of the existing trees could be retained on site. 

Throughout the timber construction period, three cranes were used to ensure maximum lifting capacity for the structure, prefabricated pods and façade. 

Graham Cottam, Multiplex regional managing director, says the project will “pave the way for future sustainable design and construction”.  

“It’s wonderful to see La Trobe encourage sustainability on its campus and we are proud to deliver the largest new development in Victoria using mass timber,” Cottam says. 

Multiplex recently completed Monash University’s Gillies Hall accommodation in Frankston, which was Australia's first mid-rise, mass timber, passive house student accommodation building. 

Around 1,223 people worked on-site throughout construction. Students have already begun moving in, and more will call the buildings home through the year. 

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