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Australian Sustainable Hardwoods - Macquarie University Incubator

Macquarie University Incubator

Macquarie University’s Incubator building represents education, technology and innovation. This building may not be the tallest or largest mass timber structure in Australia, but should be equally celebrated for its total commitment to prefabricated timber.

Embodying the ethos of Macquarie University, the Incubator building is well-crafted and vibrant. A striking facade invites students into a timber haven, which is a space for students, researchers and start-ups to research or develop ideas.

The Macquarie University Incubator was completed from a collaboration between Lipman, Architectus, Strongbuild, Taylor Thompson Whitting, Arup and Against the Grain. The design required a prefabricated structure, to enable future dismantle, relocation and reassembly, which is not an easy find for any project. However, through the unique collaboration of the entire team the building was erected in just 37 days and the entire project completed within 6 months.

The structure was built using prefabricated timber floor cassettes, supported on screw piles. Iron ASH treated MASSLAM V-columns support 22 roof glulam and CLT cassettes so that the timber is visible both internally and externally. The building also contains 44 prefabricated facade panels which includes 118 timber windows.

The design team specified Iron ASH for the V-columns and decking because it provided the assurance of longevity in an external application with the appeal of being a native Australian timber. IRON ASH uses innovative technology to combine a transparent combination of water based additives deep into the core of MASSLAM. Providing a beautiful and durable external timber solution for projects like the Macquarie Incubator.

'The Incubator demonstrates potential for a great architectural outcome when timber is exposed and the technical requirements of a project align with the design intent'. Lipman

‘Mass timber’ are the words on everyone’s lips, and for a good reason. Mass timber provides high strength, high appeal and is an affordable option when compared to other construction systems. Phillip Tondl from Lipman explains “The Incubator was a pilot project in mass timber prefabrication for both Macquarie University and the delivery team. It confirmed that mass timber buildings can deliver strength, functionality and beauty with speed and quality outcomes that surpass conventional construction methods.


2018 GREEN GOOD DESIGN Award – Research and technology, Australian Timber Design Awards – Innovative Structural Design 2017, Australian Timber Design Awards – Timber Panels 2017, Australian Timber Design Awards – Timber Windows and Doors 2017, Australian Timber Design Awards – Engineered Timber Products 2017, ACSE Awards – Excellence in Structural Engineering for Medium Building Products