International House Sydney (IHS) is the first engineered timber office building in Australia. Together with Daramu House, it has proven to the Australian commercial market that timber is a viable low carbon alternative to concrete, and highly desirable as a property investment.
IHS and Daramu House create an iconic presence at the north-eastern gateway of Barangaroo. They are the result of an aspirational brief from Lendlease that reflects a shared commitment to sustainability, placemaking, and innovation.
The structure above ground and mezzanine, including floors, walls, columns, roof, lift shafts, and stairs, are constructed from ethically sourced CLT, (cross-laminated timber), Glulam, and LVL (laminated veneer lumber) spruce timber as well as recycled Australian hardwoods. This results in approximately 50 percent less embodied carbon when compared to a conventional concrete structure. Structural and façade elements are prefabricated, further minimising construction waste and allowing fast, efficient, and safe installation procedures.
The indoor environment reflects the innate visual beauty, textural tactility, and calming scent of timber – a natural material that evokes a human response and connection rarely experienced in commercial properties.
Mass timber technology facilitates easy adaptation, which enables evolving needs of tenants to be more easily accommodated. The architecture is also designed for easy disassembly for the complete reuse of all timber at the end of the commercial life of the investment, if necessary.
Optimisation of mechanical systems and a precinct-wide passive heat exchange utilising harbour heat rejection, also enabled large reductions in the buildings’ operational energy use. The exceptional green credentials and biophilic design attributes underpin the commercial success, commercial marketability, and investment profile.
Set in a densely developed new harbourside precinct, the design concept includes the creation of engaging and useful public spaces for events, art, performance, and outdoor food-oriented experience. Shaded public seating, including special gathering spaces, are connected by a significant timber colonnade of recycled ironbark, echoing Sydney’s marine heritage. An improved pedestrian network is the result of better solar access and decreased negative wind effects, and contributes to the identity and success of the precinct.
IHS and Daramu House are exemplars of a new type of enduring beauty for architecture to contribute to a more sustainable future for our cities – one that applies advances in science, technology, and engineering to enhance interior amenity, as well as to deliver place and city making design objectives.