Best Tall Building under 100 meters Winner: 25 King, Brisbane

Darren Brusnahan
Head of Funds Management, Real Estate
Impact Investment Group Pty Ltd, Melbourne

Philip Vivian
Managing Director
Bates Smart, Sydney

Connecting with Nature Through Materiality

Located in the heart of Brisbane’s Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland’s (RNA) Showgrounds, 25 King’s 14,965 square meters of space makes one of Australia’s tallest and largest timber commercial buildings. The site anchors one end of King Street, a burgeoning precinct in Brisbane that is working to prioritize sustainability and well-being through design. The building’s expression—marked on the exterior by its ground-level timber colonnade and “verandah” south façade—nods to the Showgrounds’ historic pavilions and traditional “Queenslander” buildings. Inside, the large floor plates encourage movement and collaboration, and the exposed timber engenders warmth and familiarity. Floor-to-ceiling glass brings the outdoors inside, enabling natural light and greenery to filter throughout the building.

As a singular gesture, 25 King represents a viable return to timber design and construction, pushing for widespread solutions beyond concrete and steel in commercial and mid-scale office developments. Its basement and ground-floor structure are concrete, resistant to dampness and termites. Above the ground floor, however, the entire structure was constructed in timber. A simple, 6-by-8-meter system of glue-laminated (glulam) beams and columns work with cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor planks and core walls to support a flexible floor plate. Short spans adjacent to the core and façade allow major services to reticulate without compromising floor-to-floor heights.

Architecturally, the building highlights its floor plates and use of timber through its glazed transparency, street-level timber colonnade, and interior warmth, which was created by leaving the wood and other raw materials exposed. The use of natural materials in the interior—as opposed to concrete, steel and plasterboard—better connects occupants with nature, which has been linked to fostering a happier and healthier workplace.

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