Burwood Brickworks hits highest levels in retail sustainability
Delivering the world’s most sustainable shopping centre is a lofty aim. But in a suburb in Melbourne’s east, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Written by Annie Reid
By Frasers Property Australia, the Burwood Brickworks shopping centre officially opened its doors in December as part of an 18 hectare residential and mixed use development featuring retail, entertainment and homes with a twist – more than 2.5 hectares of open space, parklands, an urban plaza complex plus 20 per cent of the retail spaces given over to agriculture. It’s designed to create a community-focussed precinct as one of the best in the world.
An Australian first
The showstopper is the rooftop of the retail hub, where in an Australian first, a 2000sq m urban farm sprawls with garden plots, henhouse, worms, vertical gardens and a quail coop, all overseen by a farm manager. Frasers Property enlisted the help of well-known eco-pioneer, Joost Bakker as creative consultant for the rooftop, which also features acre farm and eatery, a café and restaurant set within a high-intensity greenhouse now open to the public. Much of the produce grown on site is served in the café, helping to create a positive connection for people and their surrounds, facilitated by tours, workshops, cooking classes and community volunteer opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, the project is the first Australian retail build to receive a 6 Green Star Design and As Built rating, but the ultimate aim is for Living Building Challenge (LBC) accreditation, the most advanced measure of global sustainability in the world overseen by the International Living Future Institute.
Created with sustainability in mind
As a result, every inch from construction to design and through to customer experience is innovative, intelligent and regenerative. Highlights include 3300 rooftop solar panels that produce 40 per cent of the building’s energy, plus a ‘closed loop’ system that treats all grey water on the site for reuse, as part of the LBC requirement to capture, treat and re-use all water the building requires.
Timber, brick and glass materials are reclaimed or recycled throughout, referencing the site’s history as a former brickworks factory, and must also meet the LBC requirement for zero-sum material waste. Another unique reference to the site is a sawtooth roof, which creates a ‘factory-esque’ form according to the project’s architect, NH Architecture. The roof’s interior features an Aboriginal art installation in a design collaboration with Balarinji and multi-disciplinary artist, Mandy Nicholson.
A multi-purpose built environment
You can live at Brickworks too. The vision is to transform the site into an evolving, master planned community, with plans for about 700 townhomes, apartments and land lots to buy. The residences will offer modern living and designs that embody nature in an urban environment, as well as interiors that offer sustainable, liveable luxury with an excellent connection to the outdoors.
This development is pushing the boundaries of what the retail experience represents. It is the antithesis of the current shopping centre status quo, and its future-forward, highly sensory and biophilic design sets a new benchmark for future retail in Australia.
This is an urban development designed to recreate itself over and over again, and we’re on board for the ride.