Bondies collaborate with top architecture firm on futuristic model high-rise

February 10, 2020

L-R: Bond University architecture students Blake Mills, Gemma Borra and Ellen Flood in front of a scale model of a futuristic timber high-rise designed in conjunction with Melbourne architecture firm March Studio

It looks like a giant game of Jenga but this could be the next big thing in Gold Coast high-rise construction. 

Students from the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University have teamed up with top Melbourne architecture firm March Studio on the 1:15 scale model of a futuristic tower. 

Individual apartments would be constructed offsite and shipped in modular form to the building site to be craned into a timber frame. 

March Studio director Rodney Eggleston has been honing the concept for several years and said it could soon be feasible thanks to advances in the construction of tall timber buildings. 

“The project really evolved out of housing affordability and coming up with a flat-pack module that you could make cost effectively in a factory and then deploy to another area,” Mr Eggleston said. 

“We’ve now extended that idea so that potentially you could bring them together to create a tower or a vertical village. 

“We’ve invited the students to imagine how they might fit out the modules in different ways.” 

Second-year architecture student Gemma Borra worked with two other Bond students to design a residential apartment and commercial module. 

“We picked a multi-generational household of two grandparents, two parents and two kids,” Ms Borra said. 

“That was a challenge because it’s only a 92 square metre apartment. 

“Our commercial module is a library and herb garden and we came up with the idea of growing tea in the herb garden so you can have a cup of tea while you read your book.” 

Fellow student Blake Mills said the concept could revolutionise apartment living. 

“Today you just buy off the plan and that's what you get,” he said. 

“This is like building your own unique house but in an apartment setting.” 

Head of the Abedian School of Architecture, Professor Chris Knapp, said the project teamed students from first-year to Masters level. 

“This is our seventh year that we've run this event to kick-off the year,” Prof Knapp said. 

“We've found that what students learn in these three days, they keep using throughout the year. 

“It's a great way for us to bring new energy and new knowledge into the school really quickly and have it permeate the entire student experience.” 

High-rise construction using sustainably harvested timber is becoming increasingly popular, with an 18-storey tower in Norway currently the tallest timber building in the world. 

“They're saying now with the advancement in glues they could go as tall as 200-300m almost overnight,” Mr Eggleston said. 

“The cost is prohibitive in Australia but it is coming down as more players enter the market.” 

Australia’s tallest timber building is a 10 storey office building in Brisbane. 

The Bond University students’ scale model will go on display at Melbourne Design Week from March 12-22.