The Living Future Institute of Australia (LFIA) and its principal partner Frasers Property Australia are hosting a global design competition that invites ideas for a sustainable retail centre in suburban Melbourne, Australia.

Frasers Property’s Brickworks retail project in Burwood will be the focus of the world’s most aspirational and rigorous green building performance standard – the Living Building Challenge.

Opening for registration on February 18 and to be formally launched in Melbourne on March 3, the Living Building Challenge design competition invites designers, professionals, environmental experts, students and anyone interested in a cleaner, regenerative future to submit their ideas and help reimagine the possibilities of retail centre design.

Stephen Choi, Vice-Chair of the Living Future Institute of Australia, welcomes the retail project to pursue the Living Building Challenge. Observing that the retail sector is regrettably grounded in excess and waste with shopping centre signs buzzing at night, instore mannequins individually lit long after the customers have gone home, and natural daylight and fresh air being seen as ‘best practice’, Choi said retail is in need of a fundamental shift, which is what the Living Building Challenge aims to deliver.

Choi says the Living Building Challenge has never before had a retail centre as its centrepiece, nor has an Australian project been subject to such a design competition. Commending Frasers Property Australia for partnering with the organisation, he added that they looked forward to seeing the different design possibilities for the Brickworks site.

The Living Building Challenge is one of the key visionary programs of the International Living Future Institute, the parent organisation to LFIA, and an environmental non-government organisation headquartered in Seattle, USA that is committed to catalysing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.

Peri Macdonald, General Manager – Retail, Frasers Property Australia, says making the Brickworks site the focus of the Living Building Challenge aims to unlock new possibilities in sustainable design in retail. He explains that Frasers Property is aspiring not only to create the world’s most sustainable retail centre, but also develop a project that actually generates a net positive, regenerative impact on the environment.

To be judged by a panel of industry experts, the competition will recognise innovative designs that embrace true and holistic sustainability throughout the retail centre’s lifetime.

Entries should be sent in by May 6 and the winner will be announced in June 2016 with total prize money exceeding $30,000.

The Brickworks Living Building Challenge design competition also encourages local primary schools to participate and get an opportunity to win solar panels for their school.

Image: The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong, a global exemplar educational facility, designed and constructed based on the principles of the Living Building Challenge, and currently pursuing certification.