The new Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne Southbank, Australia’s first ever high-rise timber construction hotel, recently opened in Melbourne.

Designed by Bates Smart, the 10-storey hotel is built on an existing six-storey concrete and steel building, and uses cross laminated timber (CLT).  

Bates Smart director Julian Anderson, who worked on the project said, “Approximately 5,300 tonnes of CLT were used to add 10 levels to an existing commercial building, offsetting nearly 4,200 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.”

The use of CLT represents a more sustainable approach to increasing density within Australian cities, and promotes urban adaptive reuse even further, given the limited availability of developable sites. Lightweight timber structures can increase yields in space, which would not be achievable using traditional concrete and steel construction.

For instance, the building below the Adina Southbank was designed to support an additional five floors of steel and concrete. Since CLT is approximately 20% the weight of concrete, the number of levels that could be built above the existing structure could be safely doubled. Additionally, construction efficiencies could be achieved using CLT as it allowed for components to be prefabricated offsite, decreasing the impact on surrounding buildings during construction. In fact, all the tenants in the existing building below continued to operate during construction, with the offsite fabrication minimising disruption.

At the Adina Southbank, the additional levels translate to 220 hotel rooms spread across 13,000 square metres of new floorspace. There are 70 studio apartments, 140 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments, complete with kitchens and lounge and dining areas. Guests also have access to a 20m lap pool and gym, which have been oriented to the north to take full advantage of natural light.

Bates Smart has designed the timber hotel to complement the curved architecture of the existing building, visually minimising the timber aspect. A large recessed balcony helps celebrate the corner and the building’s new height while enabling guests to enjoy the expansive Melbourne skyline views.

The timber-lined ground floor lobby – a nod to the building’s uniqueness – creates a warm and welcoming environment for guests.

Timber for the hotel was sourced from suppliers with Forest Stewardship Council certification – one of only two internationally recognised forest certification networks, reaffirming the Adina Southbank’s commitment to achieving high sustainability standards.