Three entries based on a lush river valley theme, Passive House principles, and prefabricated construction techniques respectively, have been shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award in the Living Building Challenge design competition.

Coordinated by the Living Future Institute of Australia (LFIA), in collaboration with Principal Partner Frasers Property Australia, the design competition challenged participants to envisage what the world’s most sustainable retail centre would look like; the Brickworks shopping centre site in Melbourne to be developed by Frasers Property Australia was the subject of the competition.

The People’s Choice Award finalists were selected by more than 1,000 attendees at the recent Living Future Un-Conference in Seattle, where submissions for the Brickworks Living Building Challenge design competition were displayed for the first time. Attendees voted for their favourite submission over the course of the three-day conference with the three most popular designs being The Biovale, The Difference is Living, and For the Common Good.

The People’s Choice Award will be one of the highlights of the competition major awards night to be held on June 16 at the Melbourne School of Design.

In no particular order, the finalists for the Living Building Challenge design competition People’s Choice Award are:

The Biovale by Designinc Melbourne, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Outlines Landscape Architects, Mend


The design, which is based on the theme of a lush river valley, proposes a unique and naturally pleasant space to be in, and taps into the region’s historical connection to the Red Williams Pear by using its cross-section as inspiration for a floating cloud roof structure, providing shade and reflecting excessive heat and light.


The Difference is Living by DWP|Suters, Aurecon, CJ Arms, Reed Bed Technology, Eco Harvest, Biomimicry Australia, Future Food, Watpac


The design uses modular prefabricated construction techniques to significantly reduce construction waste compared to a standard retail centre. Being “screwed together instead of glued together”, the structure can be repurposed at the end of its life.


For the Common Good – A Restart to Retailing by Buchan Group, Grun, Inhabit, Rushwright Associates


Utilising Passive House principles throughout, this design combines thermal comfort and indoor environment quality with a highly efficient envelope and building services. The design activates space for non-retail activities too, with elements such as outdoor working pods fitted with power points and Wi-Fi complemented by public art installations.


Image: People’s Choice Finalist ‘For the Common Good – A Restart to Retailing’