At Burwood Brickworks shopping centre in Melbourne, Frasers Property says that it is aiming to create the world’s most sustainable retail development with a 2000sqm urban farm planned for the shopping centre’s rooftop, one that achieves the highest global sustainability standard: Living Building Challenge certification.

The centre has been designed by Melbourne-based NH Architecture and managing director Roger Nelson say the architectural approach re-imagines the site’s history “by utilising the concept of a ‘repurposed’ factory shed as the foundation element in form and spirit.’’

“The honest use of expressed structure and raw materiality is part of a typology that is reminiscent of the various established markets around Melbourne,” Nelson explains.

With the EOI campaign for the urban farm in its final stages, Frasers Property is also broadening the call for specialty retailers interested in setting up shop at Brickworks and is taking an open-minded approach to the retail mix.

“We want to hear from new and innovative concepts which fit the dining, entertainment and leisure focus for the centre. The visitor experience is a key consideration, and this means an engaging mix of retailers and a vibrant dining precinct in the most comfortable environment imaginable,” says Peri Macdonald, executive general manager – Retail, Frasers Property Australia.

“The centre will integrate shopping, entertainment and community spaces to create a memorable place for people to have memorable experiences. There is also scope for the centre to serve an educational purpose, and with a number of schools in close proximity, this is something we will explore,” he says.

To achieve Living Building Challenge certification, Burwood Brickworks shopping centre must generate more energy than it consumes on an annual basis.

At a minimum, 105 percent of the energy required for the building will be generated through a mixture of on-site rooftop solar PV and off-site renewable energy, utilising the latest in battery storage.

Other sustainable features will include:

  • Building fabric measures such as insulated high quality glazing will reduce energy demand, and a centralised air-conditioning system servicing all tenants will increase performance and reduce waste heat, resulting in more efficient operating costs.
  • The water system will capture, treat and re-use all rain and waste water, resulting in net positive water use.
  • Materials conservation both during construction and occupation will provide a net positive waste outcome, with strict waste protocols in place for materials used in construction and tenancy fitouts.
  • Use of sustainable materials, with a focus on removing the worst-in-class ‘Red List’ chemicals, will deliver better air quality.
  • The biophilic design includes an abundance of greenery, natural daylight and fresh air throughout the centre via a sawtooth style roof to fulfil peoples’ need to connect with nature.

Additionally, provision has been made for a 100sqm community space to run programs as well as annual open days to educate the community on the unique aspects of the centre.

Burwood Brickworks shopping centre will be the heart of the mixed-use Brickworks community being developed by Frasers Property 15kms east of Melbourne CBD. The 12,900sqm centre will benefit from a catchment of some 100,000 people, with a cinema (STCA), child care centre, medical centre, health and fitness opportunities proposed as part of the tenant mix.

The approximate cost of the sustainability initiatives in isolation is approximately $14 million, though Peri Macdonald says the commercial returns are expected to more than justify this investment.

“We will demonstrate that developing a net positive sustainable shopping centre – one that gives more than it takes from its environment – is not only commercially viable, but preferable. The aim is to create a more comfortable centre to visit, designed to encourage people to stay, and it follows that with increased dwell times comes greater expenditure,” Macdonald says.

The Burwood Brickworks mixed-use community is set to achieve a 6-Star Green Star Communities rating and the construction program will take approximately 18 months, with the centre expected to open in early 2020.