The Eastland shopping centre in Melbourne has been awarded the prestigious Prix Versailles for its open-air Town Square precinct.

One of the world’s most coveted architecture prizes, the annual Prix Versailles celebrates extraordinary design in hotels, restaurants, retail stores and shopping centres from around the world. Eastland was shortlisted as one of 14 remarkable shopping centres alongside The Dubai Mall and the KWG M-Cube in Beijing.

The Town Square, which exemplifies next-generation shopping centre design in its artful blending of civic and commercial spaces, was selected for the accolade of best shopping mall exterior in South Asia and the Pacific by the esteemed Prix Versailles jury in association with UNESCO and the International Union of Architects. The award represents a major endorsement of QICGRE’s mission to create exceptional places that engage local communities.

QICGRE’s global director – asset strategy Stuart Miller says: “This award is testament to our human-centric design approach, which moves beyond traditional notions of the retail environment to building places that encourage connection and discovery.”

Located in Ringwood, Victoria, the Eastland shopping centre recently went through a $665-million transformation. Home to some of the world’s best known brands, Eastland also features the tree-lined Town Square civic and restaurant precinct, which was envisaged as a vibrant multi-use public space that would act as the cultural heart of the greater Ringwood community.

Designed by London-based design firm Acme with creative direction from Seventh Wave, and in collaboration with Melbourne architecture studio Buchan, the development features a range of cafes and restaurants with indoor and al fresco seating; the 120-room Sage Hotel; a new David Jones department store; and the 1000-square-metre Realm library building housing a café, art gallery and citizen advice centre.

An impressive double-curved glass-fronted pavilion called ‘The Shard’ serves as the main entrance to the shopping mall.

“We aim to stitch our destinations into the fabric of the community and are delighted to have created a space at Eastland in which visitors feel comfortable to spend time, socialise, work, dine and shop,” added Miller.

Eastland will now compete for one of 12 World Titles (comprising three categories – Prix Versailles, Interior and Exterior), due to be unveiled at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September.

Founded in 2015, the Prix Versailles promotes architecture and design as tools for sustainable development across the ecological, social and cultural spheres. Winners are selected by an independent international judging panel made up of leaders in architecture, art, politics, fashion, food, philosophy and beyond.

Photos: QICGRE