Barangaroo’s International House is the first and largest commercial engineered timber building using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glulam in Australia. Honouring the abundant use of structural and recycled hardwoods, the joinery and extensive range of customised furniture for global advisory firm Accenture’s office is seamlessly integrated over six storeys.

Referencing the exterior’s forest-like colonnade, European Birch ply is manipulated to form curved partition walls that conceal private meeting suites whilst alleviating the taut geometries of the internal support structures. To expedite the on-site building process, Élan fabricated them by merging CNC technology with bespoke Japanese joinery and shipbuilding techniques in its workshop to resolve any buildability issues ahead of time. These shells were then clipped into tracking, appearing like a sweep of billowing wooden curtains.

Arched blackened steel legs forming the base of elongated communal work stations acknowledge the building’s external anchoring system of steel ribbons fixed to the timber columns whilst referencing the interior’s steel infrastructure. Enveloping support columns that usually restrict interior layouts, by virtue of their design, they maximise open floor space. To avoid unnecessary wall partitions, cubed timber staff lockers and cabinets punctuate the open spaces and support agile working solutions. Designed to rotate and pivot, they simultaneously solve the lack of wall spaces to hang more traditional forms of artwork with their sculptural attributes.

Amoebic timber tabletops of alternating heights and organically fluted bases were designed to merge into one another to encourage fluid communal styles and social interaction given their proximity to the internal café hut. Further supporting the organic nature of the office’s fluid layout via curved detailing, Élan’s Screwed Oak side tables and an assortment of circular timber tops of varying circumferences and heights (hand-turned on lathes for ultra smooth finishes) float upon slim grey powder-coated steel bases in breakout lounge areas. Solid timber champagne cork-shaped stools add a frisson of fun to the environment without detracting from the significance of Accenuture’s 6 Green Stars for Office Design accolade.

 

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