The Bond is an innovative six-storey engineered timber office building located in a surburban business park approximately 30km from Sydney. The building integrates 10,500m2 of commercial office space, health consultation and treatment rooms, a childcare facility, and a ground floor supporting retail uses. It is the first of 3 buildings to edge a new food and beverage plaza precinct.

The site is part of the cumberland plain, lands of the Dhargug Nation, being the inland Aboriginal peoples of the Sydney hinterland. The original grasslands were rich in animals and plants and sustained these peoples for Millenia. The area was developed in the late 1700’s as one of Australia’s first farms, with the actual building site being an early brickworks, creating the bricks for the expansion of the suburbs north of Sydney harbour in the 1950’s. It has subsequently been redeveloped as a new residential and working park.

The design solution for The Bond links some of the histories and patterns of use of the lands and peoples to create a new suburban building typography to address the changing face of “work” A solution that is appropriate in both its local context and how it responds to our environmental emergency.

The financial viability of Australian commercial surburban architecture usually results in a banal and carbon rich building language, favouring financial return over societal responsibility and quality. Our client, as a significant land owner and developer in Australia, wished to address this typical response and look to alternative design solutions -believing that demonstrating a positive response to the issues addressing society, and creating buildings that people understood and enjoy would provide the necessary financial returns.

To be able to build in engineered timber over the traditional concrete necessitated a simplicity of form and efficiency of structure. The Bond's design minimized processing time of the timber structure and therefore costs, by utilising large span sizes, requiring no transfer structures and working to a singular and repetitive structural solution. Notably, cross bracing within the glazed fire stair zones preserved valuable views from offices, and repetitive beam and column sizing’s with simple connections ensured a swift construction process. The timber then remains raw to the internal workplace, with the minimal concrete elements of the lateral bracing core and ground plane overclad in recycled brick slips mimicking the colour of the bricks once manufactured here.

This project's core aim was to highlight the viability of sustainable workplace buildings in suburban landscapes, showcasing a reduced carbon footprint for this building typography. It isn’t the final answer, but starts to unlock the attitude of developers, approval authorities, builders and end users to the delight of alternative materials, and solutions to start to address our low carbon future.

The Bond through this endeavour proves that building sustainably in our suburbs is no longer just aspirational but entirely attainable.