ASH engineered timber reaches Collingwood

Australia Forest Products Association Policy Director, Richard Hyett and Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath marvel at the striking T3 Collingwood building, thats hardwood components were manufactured in Heyfield. Photo: Contributed

Philip Hopkins

PROJECTS using Australian Sustainable Hardwoods’ (ASH) engineered timber manufactured in Heyfield have excelled in major Victorian architectural awards.

The Berninneit Cultural and Community Centre in Cowes, by Jackson Clements Burrows (JCB) Architects, and featuring ASH timber, won the Public Architecture Award at the 2024 Victorian Architecture Awards, while the T3 15-story office tower in Collingwood, with a six-star energy rating and using ASH’s engineered hardwood, has been nominated for a prestigious 2024 Vic Chapter Awards – Commercial Architecture category.

Glue-laminated timber (MASSLAM) – huge beams 5.9 metres long and columns 4.2 meters high, all 42 centimetres wide – sit at the heart of the Cowes cultural centre.

A JCB architect, Thom McCarthy, said Vic Ash glulam was the essential structural element of the building. They form the Grand Hall, the spine of the building connected to all the rooms – the artistic theatre section at one end and the library at the other, and the function rooms in the centre.

Timber’s role as a storage of carbon dioxide was part of the design approach. Berninneit is the second largest public building in Australia to achieve ‘passive house’ (PassivHaus) status – a style of building from Europe that emphasised energy efficiency.

The striking T3 Collingwood building claims the title of Australia’s tallest timber building and includes 10 levels of mass timber columns and beams proudly designed and prefabricated locally by ASH in Gippsland.

The president of the Victorian Institute of Architects, David Wagner, said the 2024 award recipients had “indelibly shaped our built environment, showcasing the world-class ingenuity and expertise that “resides in our state”.

Victorian state manager, Daniel Moore, said winners of this year’s Victorian Architectural awards represented a milestone in the field, showcasing the importance of sustainable design principles in the best projects.

At T3 in Collingwood, the Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath, after visiting the site with Australian Forest Products Association’s Richard Hyett, spoke about the importance of wood in construction in the innovative building, paying tribute to the expert engineering and talented workers.

“The building is a masterpiece – the structural beams and columns are made from native ASH, and they are magnificent – they look and feel beautiful, you walk up, and want to touch them,” she said.

“The building is a reminder of the importance of wood in our and showcases what can be achieved using a naturally grown sustainable building material.”

Ms Bath said appallingly, the building was a one off – a heart-breaking reminder of Labor’s decision to shut Victoria’s sustainable native timber industry.

“It is one of Labor’s biggest environmental failures to shut down a Victorian hardwood industry when our state is able to engineer and create such magnificent products,” she said.

“Despite countless studies showing wood construction enriches people’s lives and has a 40 per cent reduction in embodied carbon compared to other construction materials – Labor turned its back on the industry and the thousands of regional jobs it supported.

“This inspirational building stores carbon, and it was faster to assemble than conventional concrete and steel construction with less occupational health and safety incidents.”

Ms Bath encouraged all her eastern Victoria constituents to visit the building to marvel at “what is sadly the last of its kind built using Victorian hardwood timber”.

The T3 Collingwood building is located at 36 Wellington Street, Collingwood, or can be viewed online at t3collingwood.com.au