Australia’s first engineered timber office, International House Sydney, has picked up the state’s top property award.

Lendlease was presented with the Property Council of Australia’s Rider Levett Bucknall NSW Development of the Year award at a cocktail reception this evening.

“International House demonstrates that mass timber construction is a viable alternative to conventional construction and stands as a beacon of innovation and sustainable design excellence,” says the Property Council’s NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald.

Designed by Tzannes Architects and completed in April 2017, International House Sydney stands six storeys high, constructed entirely from cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber, including floors, columns, walls, roof, lift shafts and stairs.

The timber structure is supported by a ground retail level of conventional concrete.

The building delivers an open, flexible floorplate, with a total floor space of 7,000sqm and a striking design featuring recycled hardwood colonnades and an exposed timber structure.

Timber is around 30 percent lighter than concrete or steel, potentially cutting crane, scaffolding and foundation costs. Economic modelling undertaken by Forest and Wood Products Australia has found timber construction can cut schedules by 15 percent. Engineered timber also has a carbon footprint up to 60 percent lower than other materials such as concrete and steel which is why International House has a 6 Star Green Star rating.

“The well-documented health and sustainability benefits of using timber in the built environment have contributed substantially to its market appeal, securing a single, well-known financial services tenant for the entire building,” Fitzgerald says.

“Around 3,500 cubic metres of sustainably-grown and recycled timber was used in construction, which saved thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions by cutting down on concrete. The use of natural materials makes International House a warm and welcoming building that also promotes an innovative approach to sustainable growth,” Ms Fitzgerald adds.

The NSW Development of the Year award is part of the national 2019 Property Council of Australia / Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards program.