Elegant scheme in Maribyrnong is first retail-centric scheme for Grimshaw since Sainsbury's building in Camden
Located in the suburb of Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Highpoint Shopping Centre is eight kilometres north-west of Melbourne’s CBD and serves the city’s western suburbs, commanding one of the largest regional trade catchment areas in Australia. Grimshaw were approached by the property co-owner, The GPT Group, to provide a concept design for a new 30,000 sq m extension to the existing shopping centre.
While Grimshaw have undertaken numerous transport and aviation projects that incorporate retail outlets in a supportive role, Highpoint is the first retail-centric project since their acclaimed Sainsbury’s building in Camden, London. Importantly, the new Highpoint creates a vibrant public realm with strong connections to the surrounding environment, landscape and community. The redevelopment comprises two new fashion malls and a fresh food market, including approximately 120 specialty retailers and the first David Jones department store in the western suburbs.
Both environmental and social sustainability are core themes of the design, with the mall areas conceived as beautiful public spaces which celebrate fresh air, daylight and sunlight. The operable facades of the building allow natural ventilation throughout whilst promoting a greater association with the outside weather conditions.
ETFE is used within the building’s skylights to provide a lightweight and sustainable alternative to glass. The design also uses other initiatives, including rain water collection, extensive landscape swales within car parks to treat surface water and careful material selections.
In addition to an environmental response, the design focused on creating a meaningful public realm. This has been achieved by breaking down the development into a series of smaller ‘places’ which have their own unique identity and character. This approach resonates with the context and people of Melbourne’s western suburbs, differentiates Highpoint against its competition and creates much stronger retail offer.
The use of varied materials also reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the surrounding community. It is appropriately cost effective and where possible natural materials are used throughout the scheme, including timber, blue stone and bare concrete.
The new Fashion Mall takes the form of an elegant crescent that creates views which change and unfold as the shopper moves through the space. Inspired by contemporary art galleries its form is defined by the quality of light, order and calmness. Its floating roof reinforces the sweeping curve, while full height glazed louvres above the shop fronts continuously open and close in response to environmental conditions.
In contrast, the Eco Mall has a more organic form. It is a fluid structure built from timber and courses through the site - connecting precincts; new and existing, inside and out, food and fashion. The Eco Mall’s geometry responds to the constraints of the existing site, whilst its undulations celebrate vertical movements and gathering spaces.