Playing the Long Game: Chadstone Shopping Centre
Playing the Long Game is a series from CallisonRTKL’s You Are Here discussing the evolution of retail and the projects that are doing it all. Today, director in CRTKL’s London office Jorge Beroiz discusses the retail evolution of the Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia. This year, Chadstone won the ICSC’s 2019 VIVA Award for its design excellence.
The retail landscape has rapidly developed in the past decade. The days of building ground-up malls are nearly forgotten, and online shopping has become a convenient go-to for everything from holiday wish lists to a trip to the grocery store. Because of this, retail has had to undergo a bit of a revolution, with traditional retail spaces like malls evolving into mixed-use facilities which tout entertainment, workplace and hospitality options in addition to their retail offerings.
Retail spaces themselves have changed, too, with more and more places involving experience-based shopping instead of the typical box-on-shelf approach. While mixed-use developments may seem new to consumers, developers, architects, researchers and planners have been anticipating this change for many years and adapting to the significant developments we are experiencing in urbanization, environmental necessities and the digital world.
Chadstone Shopping Centre (colloquially known as “Chaddy”) in Melbourne, Australia has been in development for over forty years. In 1960, it began as a contemporary open-air shopping center. By 2000, it had over doubled in size and offered a lifestyle center as well as dramatic new design elements. From there, it has progressively transformed into an iconic multi-use landmark which is not only the biggest shopping center in the Southern Hemisphere, but also a central hub for locals with options for work, live and play. CRTKL’s involvement dates back to the mid-’80s, leading every expansion and renovation, and acting as stewards of both design and customer experience.
In addition to its plethora of high-end retail and flagship stores, the mall features a wide variety of dining options that emphasize its distinction from the average American mall—including both a fresh food market and grocery store, health clubs, public transportation, a movie theater and fully immersive entertainment experiences like Lego Discovery.
By making the shopping center a destination, CallisonRTKL and partner the Buchan Group sought to offer an alternative to the ever-popular online shopping model by giving customers an experience that cannot be replicated on the web.
One of Chadstone’s most recognizable design attributes is its four-level glass-roofed atrium, which was developed by designers, architects and engineers working with research departments from the University of Stuttgart and the University of Bath. The design team relied on 3D parametric modeling and the roof is the first of its kind on the continent.
The glass roof is not only an innovative design achievement but an environmental one as well. Glass naturally harvests sunlight in the winter to warm the interior and keeps the space cool in the summer because it is not a heat-insulating agent. Therefore, the need to use usual machine-based heating and air conditioning systems that are heavily relied on for indoor shopping centers is greatly reduced. Besides its efficiency, the glass vastly increases the natural daylight in the space to provide customers an outlet to their gorgeous natural environment.
As much as it has already expanded and adapted to the changes in the retail environment, Chadstone continues its evolution into mixed-use by opening a 4-star hotel, Sofitel, in the shopping center. CallisonRTKL continues to innovate mixed-use facilities based on their implicit understanding of retail design’s ever-changing DNA.