Aveo, Bella Vista: Pioneering use of CLT in a multi-residential development
WARATAH, Aveo Bella Vista represents one of the largest applications of Cross Laminated Timber in a multi-residential development in Australia. This independent seniors living project designed by Jackson Teece raises the bar not only in providing superior amenity to the end-user but also in pushing the boundaries of what is presently perceived possible in mass timber design and construction technology. As designers, engineers and builders increase their knowledge and confidence around this evolving construction methodology, the market will become more educated and therefore more competitive, and we will continue to see more daring hybrid timber buildings developed.
WARATAH – Aveo Bella Vista is, in a way, the first of its kind. The design for this 10 storey residential apartment building (containing approximately 2700m3 of CLT) breaks the mould of the typical mass timber designs we have seen coming out of Europe and being realised internationally over the last decade. Originally conceived as a conventional build, Aveo was guided by Jackson Teece and Stongbuild to incorporate CLT into the design, to demonstrate industry leadership.
What sets this project apart from other recently completed mass timber buildings is the increased focus on architectural expression and functional planning over a design purely driven by construction efficiencies. Mass timber buildings to date are typically ‘boxy’ looking (no curves) with squared-off, strictly stacking floor plans and inbound balconies (not cantilevers, within the façade outline, bound by 3 walls), while the application of hybrid construction methods (combining engineered timber, steel and/or concrete) is not yet well established.
This project had to achieve a balance between the desired architectural design outcome and the construction
rationale. Some of the challenges involved complicated floor slab junctions, in order to realise the desired apartment
layouts and sophisticated hybrid steel and timber connections to achieve the curved, seemingly cantilevered balconies.
Due to the market perception of timber in construction, CLT elements were also clad and wrapped in fire-rated
material. As a reflection of the internal structure of the building, exposed timber elements in a series of Glulam columns
support large glazing elements to the main entry lobby.
Key to the successful delivery of this project was early client education, enthusiasm and commitment, specialist
consultant input relating to the construction methodology, and a capable builder. Jackson Teece, together with TDA
and Wood Solutions organised a study tour to Austria and Switzerland with the client, builder and TTW structural
engineers. This deepened the team’s understanding of timber engineering, fabrication and construction technologies,
and as a result, has increased the prominence of this sustainable construction methodology in Australia.
The raw material was sourced through BinderHolz in Austria, a CLT provider whose production sites meet and are
certified under strict PEFC standards. Their no-waste principle during fabrication means that 100% of every logged
tree is used. Production by-products such as bark, cut-off pieces, wood chips, sawdust and shavings are processed
into biofuels in the form of pellets and briquettes or converted into climate-neutral thermal energy or green electricity.
Such highly efficient and streamlined fabrication processes, currently not available in Australia, offset the embodied
energy generated through transportation to a large degree.