Australia’s first engineered timber commercial building has taken out the prestigious Athenaeum and European Centre for Design Award for International Architecture.

International House Sydney, designed by Tzannes as part of the Barangaroo redevelopment, received recognition from two of the world’s leading design institutions: the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies. This is the sixth major international design award Tzannes has received in the last two years.

The LendLease-developed International House Sydney opened its doors earlier this year, as the ‘front door’ to Barangaroo South. The project is built entirely of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (GLT), including floors, columns, walls, roof, lift shafts, egress stairs and bracing bays. The six above-ground commercial levels are supported by a single ground-level retail floor of conventional concrete.

“Tzannes’ design turns the limitations of structural engineered mass timber and recycled hardwood to advantage, establishing a strong visual presence and legible load path through the building column and beam construction,” reads a statement issued by Tzannes in response to the award.

“The double-height colonnade bracing columns, made from recycled iron bark, evoke memories of the forest origins of timber, these ancient trees respected in their new industrial use to further distinguish the architecture and its contribution to the design of the public domain.”

Altogether, around 3,500 cubic metres of sustainably grown and recycled timber were used in the construction of International House Sydney. This conscious decision not to use concrete meant that “thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases” were avoided.

“International House Sydney is an exemplar of placemaking architecture that reduces negative environmental impacts in the built environment,” says Tzannes. “It provides an ongoing store for carbon, pointing towards the future of commercial building construction throughout the world.”