Story at a glance:
- NH Architecture was brought on by Frasers Property to design shopping center Burwood Brickworks in Australia.
- The mixed-use development is on track to achieve full Living Building Challenge certification in late 2022.
- Burwood Brickworks is being called the world’s most sustainable shopping center. It took 20,000 hours in development.
Some are calling it the world’s most sustainable shopping center, and with a 6,500-square-foot rooftop urban farm, solar panels, and a bevy of sustainable building materials, Burwood Brickworks in East Melbourne, Australia may well be. The project recently received its first Living Building Challenge Petal from the International Living Future Institute and is expected to achieve full Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification in late 2022.
Burwood Brickworks shopping center was designed by Melbourne-based NH Architecture with creative input from Russell & George. NH Architecture was appointed by Frasers Property to design the world’s most sustainable shopping center in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
According to the architects, “The urban regeneration project presents Australia’s first retail build to receive a 6 Green Star Design and As Built rating, as well as being the first Living Building–certified shopping center in the world. The biophilic design uniquely considers human scale; each of the building’s multiple elements offer a sensory experience through the pastiche of contrasting, yet coherent design motifs.”
The Living Building Challenge is the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment. It requires developments to have a net positive impact by challenging them to operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. The LBC is organized into seven performance areas called Petals.
The Petals independently audited and now achieved by Frasers Property for this certification refer mainly to the built form of Burwood Brickworks—namely the Place, Materials, Health & Happiness, and Beauty Petals.
The remaining three Petals—Water, Energy, and Equity—relate to the center’s operation over time. These Petals must also be independently audited, based on 12 months of operational data, for the center to achieve full certification.
“The vision for Burwood Brickworks was to redefine sustainability in retail by challenging ourselves in new and uncomfortable ways,” says Anthony Boyd, CEO of Frasers Property Australia. “It meant exposing ourselves to possible failure, inviting new levels of scrutiny, balancing commercial feasibility, challenging our project partners to take the journey with us, and investing time and resources into working with our tenants, so they could play their essential role.”
The mixed-use development incorporates a range of sustainability measures—including a large solar PV system that provides 40% of the building’s energy, an embedded thermal and electricity network, wastewater treatment, and more than 1,000 independently vetted construction materials.
Reclaimed and recycled materials define the design, with the timber, brick and furnishings all derived from natural forms. The curved, crushed brick and glass facade offers a unique tactility through the juxtaposition of variated textures while referencing the site’s history. The historic reimagination is further actualized in the factory-esque form of the sawtooth roof.
Name: Burwood Brickworks
Location: East Melbourne, Australia
Completion: December 2019
Size: 140,000 square feet
Architect: NH Architecture
Creative Input: Russell & George
Contractor: Hacer Group