An industrial precinct in Canberra is being reimagined as a creative hotspot. This hub will act as the nucleus of an urban village that is set to take shape over the next 25 years.

The Dairy Road District is currently being developed by Molonglo Group in Fyshwick. The conception of the transformative precinct has involved the conversion of a series of industrial buildings into a 19,800-square-metre warehouse-style precinct.

A number of businesses have already found home at the precinct, including Capital Brewing Co, Red Robot and 42 Lines. The space may also soon accommodate a coffee roaster, a brewery, a rock climbing centre and three indoor ski slopes.

The Dairy Road project is to be just one part of a much larger project (14.5 hectares) that, in the future, will be a living and working village. More broadly, the project sits within the ACT government’s vision for the East Lake urban renewal development.

Architectural practice Fender Katsalidis and landscape architects Oculus have been chosen for the masterplanning of Dairy Road. Craig Tan Architects are working alongside Oculus for some of the more detailed work, such as the creative hub.

The overall village will be a slow process, with a development timeframe of anything between 10 to 25 years. But as Fender Katsalidis director David Sutherland explains, “[this is] how real cities develop”.

“[It shouldn’t be that] someone [designs] a whole suburb and [builds] it right [away]. Instead, it should be through the organic process of accretion, [whereby] things are done over time,” he says.  

A project of this size and timeframe comes with a range of factors to consider. For instance, the changing nature of transport will present a particular issue considering the area’s isolation.    

“With a 25-year lifespan, it’s important to consider what transport could be as opposed to what it currently is,” says Sutherland. 

While Sutherland can’t provide concrete details on what the overall project will entail, a vision has been presented to the National Capital Authority and the ACT government.

“The vision is to have a place where people can live, work, visit and enjoy.”