The Ainsworth Building

Mass Timber Creates a Striking Statement

Client

Macquarie University

Location

Sydney, Australia

Sector

Education

Year Completed

2020

Floor Area

3400m2

Architect

Architectus

Contractor

Buildcorp

Awards

Australian Timber Design Awards, People’s Choice Award, 2020

Holmes Team

Aidon Browning, James O’Neill, Kevin Irwin

This groundbreaking multi-level timber facility will provide the university with contemporary teaching spaces, lecture theatres and team based learning areas for future medicine and health science students. The unique design features a prefabricated Glulam and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) structure. The building, interconnected with an internal stairway across four storeys also has a custom fire separation strategy, protecting the top storey from a potential ground level fire.

Holmes Fire worked with the client to create flexibility in the design for potential change in building function in the future. The Structural Fire Engineering team undertook a detailed analysis to provide versatility in the floor plate layout in the event of a catastrophic fire event, considering varying options in the space and how it may be used in the future. Numerous egress and fire services design issues were allowed for and considered in the design of the building, ensuring aesthetic appeal and functionality could be maintained whist providing the highest levels of fire safety. Multiple primary egress routes, avenues of attack for fire brigade, and increased provision of wet fire services were key elements to providing a high level of safety throughout the building.

Other design aspects include a striking timber colonnade entry, incorporating both steel and timber elements, unprotected timber within internal areas, bespoke structural connections, all of which were a key focus of the fire engineering strategy to enable the execution of this innovative design.

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