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Melbourne to get world’s most sustainable shopping centre

Frasers Property Australia plans to regenerate Burwood Brickworks in Melbourne’s east and turn it into what it calls  “the most sustainable shopping centre in the world”.

Co-pioneer, florist and designer Joost Bakker, the person behind sustainability-focused projects Silo, Brothl and Greenhouse, has been brought in as a creative consultant to help transform the site’s 2000-square-metre rooftop, creating an urban farm and restaurant space.

Bakker was recruited when the developer held a design competition asking Melbourne-based architects to pitch their vision.

He says he realised they were the “real deal” when the company said it wanted to meet the Living Building Challenge requirements which are part of the rigorous green-building certification program.

Fraser Property Australia wants to make it the first retail development in the world that has secured the Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification. LBC-certified buildings have zero carbon footprint and zero waste. They also produce more electricity and water than they use. And in addition to that, they grow agriculture on 20 per cent of the site and they are built using non-toxic and recycled materials.

Bakker says people going there will feel like they’re in the middle of a garden.

“I’m pretty sure there won’t be another shopping centre in Australia with this many solar panels,” Bakker told Broadsheet.

The company plans to start construction in mid-2018 and the carbon footprint of every material used in the construction will be meticulously calculated.

“It’s right down to the very finest details,” Bakker told Broadsheet “Even the concrete – how it’s made, the recycled content of it. The highest that’s been achieved is 80 per cent recycled content but [Frasers is] saying, ‘Let’s see if we can get it up to 90’.”

The urban farm will have crop areas and greenhouses And it will grow around 55 to 60 kinds of seasonal plants.

“There will be lots of lemongrass, lemon verbena and herbs, but also a hell of a lot of cucumbers,” Bakker says. “We’re growing crops that are water and nutrient hungry, because we will obviously have a lot of recycled water and compost.”

by Leon Gettler, February 13th 2017.