OMA to design a shopping centre integrated with community spaces in Melbourne’s countryside
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Whittlesea, Melbourne, Australia – Australian retail developer Sandhurst Retail has commissioned OMA to design the Wollert Neighbourhood Centre in Wollert in the City of Whittlesea – a suburb 25 kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD and one of the state of Victoria’s fastest growing regions. Led by OMA’s Regional Director Paul Jones, the 9,000-square-metre Centre will integrate retail programme with community spaces – including a central public courtyard, amenity spaces, and childcare and education facilities to create a place for communal experience. 

At the centre of the utilitarian-shaped Wollert Neighbourhood Centre will be a shaded courtyard with spaces for curated community events and daily activities. An accessible roof offers extra areas for sports and education, and opens up possibilities for urban agriculture and energy saving initiatives. Spatial zones organised in vertical stripes will house other amenity spaces, facilities for children, and well-being-focused retail offerings within the building. Such spatial organisation, in addition to landscape design of the courtyard, evoke barcodes ubiquitous in retail.

The Centre has been conceived as the heart of a potential masterplan with residential and commercial programs, which would offer a new living option typically unexplored by the suburban population. 

Plans for the Centre are currently with the Whittlesea Council, with works expected to commence in 2023.