Award-winning complex timber gridshell, the first of its kind seen in Australia

Bunjil Place provides the community with a cultural hub in Melbourne's east. This innovative project has nine major award wins to date, including the 2018 Australian Timber Design Award - Excellence in Timber Design and the Victorian Australian Engineering Excellence Award. Designed to become a cultural hub in Melbourne East, the new building involved intricate design challenges and delivery to demanding timeframes.


The building's dominant feature is a timber gridshell, the first of its kind in Australia, that defines the main atrium. This impressive central area incorporates a 12m high glass Façade facing a large community plaza area beyond.

With the shell made from geometrically complex 3D forms, our TTW Advance team undertook a detailed form-finding investigation, which required modelling of the timber grillage as a structural load-bearing element supporting the roof. Structural analysis model showing estimated deflections under gravity load. The model considered the effects of the timber grid shell members and geometry, the long term creep movements and the flexibility in the joints.

Our team worked alongside the chosen fabricator, Hess Timber, to develop an effective construction methodology that dealt with tight tolerances, a large number of connecting interfaces while protecting the exposed timber surfaces.

The roof form created specific challenges in the detailing of the steelwork, with complicated connections requiring finite element modelling. TTW's engineers worked closely with architects and timber contractors to optimise the timber roof form within the spatial design constraints. The remainder of the freeform roof structure is constructed of steel with spectacular cantilevers at the building edges.

The new facility also provides large landscaped external areas, including an amphitheatre, reading gardens and grove area. TTW's services were extended to encompass: large scale site earthworks; carpark design; overland flow analysis; stormwater infrastructure design and augmentation; WSUD; pavement and site grading; and construction phase services.


Client: Casey City Council

Architect: FJMT

Builder: Multiplex

Value: $125M

Completion: 2017

Sector: Government & Public, Art & Culture

Services: Timber, TTW Advance, Structural, Civil, Facade


  • 2018 – ATDA – Excellence in Timber Design
  • 2018 – ATDA – Excellence in the use of Timber Products – Timber Veneers
  • 2018 – ATDA – Excellence in Timber Design, Public or Commercial
  • 2018 – AEEA – VIC – Excellence Engineering Award
  • 2018 – AIA VIC – The William Wardell Award for Public Architecture
  • 2018 – Australian Interior Design Awards – Commendation’ for Public Design
  • 2018 – International Design Awards – Architecture of the Year
  • 2018 – International Design Awards – Gold – Institutional
  • 2018 – International Design Awards – Gold – Landmarks, symbolic structures, memorials, public
  • 2018 – Global Architecture & Design Awards – Winner of the Cultural Category2018 – National Architecture Awards – FINALIST Public Architecture
  • 2018 – Frame Awards – Short-Listed World’s Best Interiors in the Societal Awards
  • 2017 – International Design Awards – Architecture of the Year
  • 2017 – International Design Awards – Gold Prize in the Institutional Category
  • 2017 – International Design Awards – Gold Prize in the Landmarks, Symbolic Structures, Memorials, Public Category