Offering a well-tempered environment and accessible by automobiles, suburban shopping centers are places for services and entertainment—destinations for consumption rather than social cohesion. Located in Wollert in the City of Whittlesea, 25 km north of Melbourne’s CBD and with a growing number of homes, the Wollert Neighbourhood Centre is a shopping centre conceived as social infrastructure: a place for communal experience where retail and social interaction weigh equal.
▼Wollert邻里中心距离墨尔本中央商务区以北25公里，the Wollert Neighbourhood Centre is 25 km north of Melbourne’s CBD ©OMA
Existing community activity centres, separated from retail programs, are often underutilised. The 9,000-square-metre Wollert Neighbourhood Centre integrates community spaces—including a central public courtyard, amenity spaces, and childcare and education facilities—with the retail program. With an emphasis on health and wellbeing, the complex offers a range of diversified functions catering to commercial and community needs—a social condenser in the area to serve people across sections of society.
▼Wollert邻里中心将成为社区居民的理想社交聚集地，Wollert Neighbourhood Centre as a social condenser in the area to serve people across sections of society ©OMA
At the centre of the utilitarian-shaped Wollert Neighbourhood Centre is a shaded courtyard with an amphitheater. This is a space for curated community events and daily activities, encouraging residents in Wollert and neighbouring suburbs to spend time in the Centre and engage with each other. 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 house other amenity spaces, facilities for children, and well-being-focused retail offerings. Such spatial organisation, together with landscape design of the courtyard, evoke barcodes ubiquitous in retail.
▼鸟瞰图：露天剧场庭院和可走入的屋顶，aerial view: the courtyard with an amphitheater and the accessible roof ©OMA
Multiple entrances in the elongated façade—facing the streets and the central courtyard—allow access to the building’s public space and through the building. The carpark to the south is separated from the pedestrian-friendly northern façade, while offering clearly-defined routes connected to the centre’s entrances. This single-level carpark at ground level can also be used as an additional outdoor public amenity space. A public transportation connection point to the west connects the centre to the greater Melbourne area—a means to draw otherwise dispersed suburb residents to the centre designed as a civic landmark.
▼轴测图 – 交通动线，axon- circulation ©OMA
The Centre has been conceived as the heart of a potential masterplan with residential and commercial programs. The mixed-use area, connected to neighbouring suburbs, will offer a new living option typically unexplored by the suburban population.
▼地理位置示意，location map ©OMA
Wollert Neighbourhood Centre, Whittlesea
Status: Concept Design submitted for local planning approval
Client: Sandhurst Retail
Site: 3.3 hectares
Program: Mixed Use Community and Retail Centre
Regional Director : Paul Jones
Project Architect: Clare Johnston
Team: Fedor Medek, Marcus Parviainen
Supervising Partner: David Gianotten
Project Manager: Case Meallin