Eco-friendly retail centre wins inaugural design competition

Buchan Group design

The winner of the international Brickworks Living Building Challenge design competition was crowned in Melbourne last week, with a design for a pre-fabricated shopping centre model taking out the major prize.

The design entry “Difference is Living” won the design competition while the Buchan Group’s design “For the Common Good – A Restart to Retailing”  won the People’s Choice Award and was a runner-up for the Power for Life award.

The winning submission, “screwed not glued” together, was a collaboration between DWP|Suters, Aurecon, CJ Arms, Reedbed Technology, Eco Harvest, Biomimicry Australia, Future Food and Watpac.

The design has provided a vision for the shopping centre of the future by comprehensively and creatively addressing key design principles said Stephen Choi, vice chair of Living Future Institute of Australia.

The design competition challenged participants to design a sustainable shopping centre that meets rigorous environmental standards.

Frasers’ Brickworks shopping centre site in Burwood, Melbourne, was the subject of the competition.

The development proposal focused on the revitalisation of Burwood’s retail offering, and the creation of a vibrant residential community based around an economically and sustainably viable centre.

“Among the strong calibre of entries, the ‘Difference is Living’ is a worthy winner given the design’s strong alignment with the principles of the Living Building Challenge,” Choi said.

Choi said the way the modular design came together in a functional, well-conceived way, to potentially be repurposed elsewhere at the end of the centre’s life cycle, significantly reduces construction waste compared to a standard retail centre, and is not an approach normally considered to this extent.

“The design also recognises and celebrates the innate connection between human beings and the natural elements that surround us, through its “Bush Tucker” interpretive green walls and approximately 3900sqm of billabong plantings, including over 2000sqm of vine growing structures along site boundaries.”

The Buchan Group’s entry was one of the three finalists picked at the Living Futures Institute’s unConference held in Seattle in May.

Principal Harvey Male said receiving the People’a Choice Award for their design was an honour. He said the award recognised Buchan’s excellence in retail design combined with a broader commitment to placemaking, liveability and wellness balanced with commercial principles.

“Our vision was to create a series of active and liveable places which will provide for the local community. The design intent was to substantially improve retailing in terms of both its offer and ability for social interaction, residential diversity and choice, as well as creating employment opportunities,” Male said.

Buchan’s entry “For the Common Good – A Restart to Retailing,” was designed in collaboration with Grün Consulting, Inhabit Group, RushWright Associates and The Space Agency, and inspired primarily by Passive House principles.

Peri Macdonald, general manager – retail, Frasers Property Australia, said the design competition was an important initiative to progress the sustainable possibilities for retail not only in Australia, but internationally.

“This competition opens the industry’s eyes to new possibilities when it comes to the design, creation and operation of shopping centres. It provides us all with food for thought when we begin to conceptualise a new retail centre for any given site,” Macdonald said.

The winners of the competition were announced at the Melbourne School of Design during an awards ceremony last week.

Access exclusive analysis, locked news and reports with Inside Retail Weekly. Subscribe today and get our premium print publication delivered to your door every week.


You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.