Move over Concrete and Steel, Timber’s on the rise.
Well over a year old now, is FORTE, the first Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in Australia and the tallest timber apartment building in the world.
Located on Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour, the 10-storey apartment building reaches its height thanks to the afore mentioned CLT – an innovative material with a structural strength that is equal to our beloved and traditional concrete and steel approach. The timber used is sourced from sustainably managed forests, cut into panels, then using innovative technology is stacked at right angles, bonded and hydraulically pressed to create the CLT. The entire process is geared to created a model of sustainability for future developments.
Designed and built by, Development Giant, Lend Lease , Forte works on the principle that “what is good for the environment is good for the resident too.” and this is evident in the design and attention to detail.
Prefabricated off site, the construction time was shorter, less expensive, cleaner, more precise, not as wasteful and with a higher quality of finish. This process offers a viable alternative to prefabricated concrete as it can withstand the same pressure but would not cost or require as much.

 

Each of the 23 residential apartments, of the $11 million building, were designed to maximise daylight and natural ventilation as well as thermal efficiency, thus requiring less energy for cooling or heating and creating a more natural, healthier abode for residents. The building features 7 one bedroom apartments, 14 two bedroom apartments and 2 two bedroom penthouses, with the ground floor offering lettable retail spaces.
In addition, each unit has a smart meter which links to an in-home display that shows real time and historic energy consumption data. While indoor environmental quality is maximized through high levels of daylight, solar shading and natural ventilation, chemical emissions from paints, carpets, joinery and wood products were reduced. Vegetable gardens on balconies and the building’s proximity to the Victoria Harbour community garden further encourage a healthy lifestyle for Forté’s tenants, as does its convenient location near public transport and bike share facilities.

 

Standing at 32m, Forte is able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more that 1400 tonnes when compared to concrete and steel, a feat equivalent to taking 345 cars off the road. Impressive.
How is this possible? well Timber is able to capture carbon and when used in buildings on such a large scale, those building invariably become “carbon sinks” trapping in carbon emissions on a scale comparable to the size of the structure.
To this end, engineered Timber, such as CLT, which has used widely in Europe over the last decade, have helped lower the environmental footprint of buildings and drive sustainability. The arguments may arise that the manufacturing processes and what not, which may give off carbon emissions, detract from what good that the final product may offer, but, at the end, looking at percentages, this probably offers a healthier approach that the traditional. To quote the architects “The shift to green technologies and materials, such as CLT, is paving the way for the future of sustainable development that will enable the concept of ‘green’ to go beyond buildings to how we create liveable, sustainable communities and cities.“.
I concur.
In closing, heres a great, in-depth presentation on how LendLease, built this amazing timber structure. Enjoy.

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