Mass timber is transforming from an innovative new method of construction to a must-have in mid-rise building design, and this RMIT NAS project paved the way for Australia to become a leader in mass timber construction.
NAS (New Academic Street) was a construction program to improve the facilities at RMIT. This iconic Melbourne project was all made possible through the collaboration of Melbourne’s top architectural companies including Lyons, MvS Architects, NMBW Architects, Harrison White, Maddison Architects and Taylor Cullity Lethlen (TCL).
One building in particular, the ‘Garden Building’, designed by NMBW Architects and TCL was a stand out for innovation and creativity. Nigel from NMBW explained “the overall concept was to create an open structural system, which meant we were able to attractively utilise timber both inside and out. The Garden Building is formally part of the Library, however the space is to be used for study, workshops and events”.
The spectacular design used a 6m mass timber grid and due to the visibility of the structure, glulam was the preferred option to CLT. Victorian ash was chosen as it is an attractive timber, ideal for ‘seen structure’ members.
Using ASH’s quality Victorian ash timber, supply partners provided the beams for the Garden Building. Nigel from NMBW Architects further explained “initially, the structural system was developed with options in both timber and steel. Timber posed an interesting and possible option that created a pavilion like structure”.
Using mass-timber, specifically MASSLAM members in construction has many benefits, including reduced costs, increased profitability, better fire resistance, is a sustainable option and Australian made to name a few.
ASH, being leaders in timber manufacturing in Australia, developed MASSLAM to respond to the demand for this innovative new construction method. MASSLAM is a range of massive timber members that use glue-laminated timber (glulam), which are typically used for post and beam construction like demonstrated here in the RMIT Garden Building.
Photography – Peter Bennetts