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Redefining Sustainability in Retail.

We are delighted to open our inaugural design competition, set around the Living Building Challenge™: a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. It exists because incrementally ‘less bad’ development is not enough. We need to rapidly diminish the gap between current limits and the end-game positive solutions we seek.

The Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories called ‘Petals’: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence.

We are asking designers to take up the Living Building Challenge with the redevelopment of a former brickworks site in Burwood East, Australia – a development that represents a major infill site in a diversified catchment in the Inner East of Melbourne. Within a wider masterplan for this site, a retail building is to be developed by Frasers Property Australia in the near future. How much the future building is informed by this design competition is the opportunity, as we aim to explore the boundaries of sustainable design within the retail environment, and redefine ‘best practice’ for the sector.

 Imagine a creative, inclusive, connecting, retail environment

socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.

Burwood East is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, located 15 km east of Melbourne’s Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Whitehorse, with population of just over 165,000 people. It is very well serviced by public transport with train stations, bus lines, and Melbourne’s Tram Network. There are several Primary and Secondary schools in the suburb. Most recently, Whitehorse Council has approved a development plan for the old brickworks site (which is the home of this Design Competition). It is to be comprised of retail space, residential dwellings, leisure, entertainment and community facilities. These will all based around a “main street” retail/entertainment precinct and urban plaza.

The brief here reflects the need to remain very practical whilst allowing for innovation and exploration, as the development is subject to a myriad of real-world opportunities and constraints, in part due to the Development Plan which sets the framework for all future development on the site. Within the masterplan, and subject to this competition is a retail centre of approximately 12,000 sqm in the form of a full line 4,800sqm supermarket, several specialty retail shops, child care facility, pharmacy and medical centre, and associated amenities, to be serviced in an internal mall. In addition, the centre will provide core food retail uses including butcher, fruit and vegetable operator, and a strong on-site food and beverage offering for shoppers, taking advantage of a unique integration with the proposed community town square.

This is where you come in.

Design Competition entries for this new retail centre should both inspire and inform. The Competition is meant to encourage design teams to develop a practical and affordable solution for a retail site, while achieving all imperatives of the Living Building Challenge.

This site will be home to a mixed use masterplan, being developed by Frasers Property, who is eager to learn whether ultra-effective, regenerative retail sites can be developed affordably. This competition is therefore not simply about winning a prize: it is about laying the groundwork for transforming how the built retail environment is created, used, and maintained, showcasing ideas that can be shared to create better places worldwide. We want to see designs for a Living Building in a retail environment – one that is open to the general public, day in, day out.


The competition prizes are as follows:

  • Cash Award of $15,000
  • Feature article in Trim Tab magazine
  • Annual membership of the Living Future Institute for the design team
  • Cash Award of $ 5,000
  • Coverage in Trim Tab magazine
  • Annual membership of the Living Future Institute for the design team
  • Cash Award of $ 2,500
  • Coverage in Trim Tab magazine
  • Annual membership of the Living Future Institute for the design team
  • Cash Award of $3,000
  • Article in Trim Tab magazine
  • Annual student membership of the Living Future Institute for the design team
  • Cash Award of $ 1,000
  • Coverage in Trim Tab magazine
  • Annual student membership of the Living Future Institute for the design team

Judging Criteria

Area Weighting Comment
Addressing the Living Building Challenge Imperatives 34% Credit is awarded for each imperative that is addressed, considering level of clarity, completeness, creativity and innovation
Functionality 33% Credit is awarded for designs that fulfill the requirements of the brief for a successfully functioning retail centre, considering usability, maintenance, etc.
Realisation Possibility 33% Credit is awarded for designs that can be delivered from a technological (current and proven technology) and economical (at a reasonable cost) perspective.

Submission Guidelines

To be eligible for consideration, all entries are to be digital and must include at a minimum:

  1. Completed submission form and entry fee. All entry fee proceeds go towards a renewable installation at a local primary school.
  2. A maximum of three A1 sized boards that contain the schematic design.
  3. A narrative on achieving the Living Building Challenge 3.0 requirements.
  4. A plan and narrative describing innovative techniques for minimising construction costs.
  5. A list of organisations to whom ‘Advocacy correspondence’ were sent
  6. Calculations detailing strategies used.
  7. ‘Peoples’ Choice’ Poster: A single A1 (portrait orientation) poster is to be provided for exhibition at the Living Future Unconference 2016. At the Unconference (held 11-13 May), attendees will have the chance to vote for their favourite designs on the basis of the posters submitted.

Optional additions to submissions that help to describe the concept:

  1. A short poem.
  2. A video with a maximum length of two minutes

Click here to download the detailed brief (1.0 Mb)

Click here to download the Terms and Conditions of the Competition (0.2 Mb)



12:00pm (Midday) on 6th May 2016 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)


Site documents and drawings are available to registered competition entrants.