Artist’s impression of Forté, Docklands, Melbourne

25 May 2012 – Lend Lease announced on Friday that it had started construction of Australia’s first* – and the world’s tallest –  timber apartment tower.

The 10-storey Forté, which will house 23 apartments, will use cross laminated timber (CLT) and result in CO2 equivalent emissions reductions of more than 1400 tonnes, compared to concrete and steel.

It will also be pre-fabricated.

The move means that Lend Lease has pipped Grocon to the post; Delta, Grocon’s plans for 50 apartment, 10-storey timber apartment tower, is not due to start construction until next year.

See our previous related articles

Head of sustainability for Lend Lease’s Australian business, Cate Harris said the building would “unlock a new era in the future of sustainable development by making a significant reduction in its embodied carbon impact.”

On completion of the building, expected in October this year, the company intended to use CLT in 30-50 per cent of its apartment pipeline.

“CLT is revolutionising the use of timber in construction by introducing a more efficient and environmentally-friendly construction process that has not been undertaken in Australia before, but has a proven track-record through Europe,” Ms Harris said.

“In 2001, we introduced the innovation of chilled beam technology to the Australian market, which has now become an industry norm. CLT is another example of how we are leading the way with innovations that will challenge and improve current building practises in the industry.”

Planet Ark chief executive, Paul Klymenko, said the building was expected to be carbon neutral for over a decade because of the low energy used to make the building materials, the carbon the stored by the wood and the smaller energy bills for residents.

“As Planet Ark’s Make it Wood campaign explains, building from responsibly sourced wood can play a role in tackling climate change. I hope to see more buildings such as this in Australia soon,” Mr Klymenko said.

*See letter to the editor on Perry House, built in 1913 as a tall timber framed commercial building, extended by one floor to nine storeys in 1923 and since converted to apartments.

Highlights of a statement from Lend Lease include:

Forté will aim to be Australia’s first first five Star Green Star As Built residential building.

It will provide energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, inhome displays linked to smart meters and rainwater reuse. It is also conveniently located within close to walking and bike paths, and public transport.

Designed and produced in a factory environment, Forté will be built “30 per cent faster, safer and with better precision than its material counterparts.”

It will also result in reduced heavy traffic to and from site, cause less disruption to the community and produce less waste.

“Every day we build the places and spaces our children and grandchildren will live, work and play in. So shouldn’t what we build and how we build them be done with their future in mind. That’s what sustainability is all about: thinking long term. The good news is it has big benefits for us, right now too, with CLT and Forté being great examples of how we are creating the future today.”

Building Location

807 Bourke Street, Victoria Harbour Melbourne, Victoria


Forté is the tallest timber apartment building in the world, with a height of 32.17 metres


23 apartments, over 10 storeys including:

o     7 x 1 bedroom (59m2)

o     14 x 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom (80m2)

o     2 x 2 bedroom penthouse (102m2)

The building will have ground floor retail and four townhouses adjoining.

Project cost (construction)

Apartment tower: $11 million

LED lighting

Dual aspect for each apartment.

Thermally efficient design, requiring less energy to heat and cool than a typical code- compliant apartment

Smart meters which link to an in home display and show real time and historic data on energy consumption

Indoor environmental quality to be maximised through good levels of daylight, solar shading, natural ventilation and acoustic treatment

High fresh air quality due to reduced chemical emissions from paints, carpets, joinery and wood products

Location, near public transport, car share, bike share facilities and general amenity shops

Balcony vegetable gardens and close to Victoria Harbour community garden


1 bedroom apartment – prices range from mid $400,000

2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment –  from late $600,000

2 bedroom penthouse apartment – prices from $800,000

Cross Laminated Timber

Cross laminated timber has been used in Europe for more than a decade and useful because timber enables the permanent capture of carbon.

Timber panels are stacked at right angles and bonded together over their entire surface and then hydraulically pressed.

This process delivers a viable alternative to concrete and steel that can withstand the same pressure as prefabricated concrete. Being designed and produced in a factory environment means it is also faster to build, cost effective, cleaner and has a higher quality finish.