Forté, located in Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour, is the first Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in Australia and the tallest timber apartment building in the world.

The 10-storey-building, which recently took home top honours at the 2013 Australian Timber Design Awards, was built using CLT – an innovative material with a structural strength equal to the traditionally used concrete and steel.

The timber was sourced from certified sustainably managed forests in an effort to build a model for future sustainable developments.

“Forté is built on the principle that what is good for the environment is good for the resident too,” said Forte designers and builders Lend Lease. “Using innovative technology, timber panels undergo a process whereby they are stacked at right angles and bonded together over their entire surface and then hydraulically pressed.”

Lend Lease and TBA Aerial View

Aerial view of the construction site.

“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.”

The 32-metre building features 23 residential apartments, including seven one-bedroom apartments, 14 two-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom penthouses, as well as ground floor retail.

Lend Lease and TBA Interior

Each apartment has been designed to make the most of sunlight and natural ventilation.

Each apartment in the $11 million building has been designed to make the most of sunlight and natural ventilation and to be thermally efficient, requiring less energy for heating and cooling and creating a healthier and more natural living environment for its occupants.

Forté was designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,400 tonnes compared to concrete and steel – the equivalent of removing 345 cars from our roads.

Lend Lease and TBA Interior

Chemical emissions from paints, carpets, joinery and wood products were reduced.

In addition, each unit has a smart meter which links to an in-home display that shows real time and historic energy consumption data. While indoor environmental quality is maximized through high levels of daylight, solar shading and natural ventilation, chemical emissions from paints, carpets, joinery and wood products were reduced.

Vegetable gardens on balconies and the building’s proximity to the Victoria Harbour community garden further encourage a healthy lifestyle for Forté’s tenants, as does its convenient location near public transport and bike share facilities.

Lend Lease and TBA Interior

The living area is connected to the balcony through glass sliding panels.

“Sustainability and a lowered environmental footprint have been the key drivers behind the wide use of engineered timber, referred to as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), in Europe for more than decade. A building material that has been around for centuries, timber, enables the permanent capture of carbon so buildings become essentially carbon sinks,” the architects said.

“The shift to green technologies and materials, such as CLT, is paving the way for the future of sustainable development that will enable the concept of ‘green’ to go beyond buildings to how we create liveable, sustainable communities and cities.”