The Greening of New Developments – The Fraser Group present the Burwood Brickworks Renewal Project

One of the most interesting developments architecturally in the last two decades has been the advent of the ‘Green Building’. There are many instances where a building has added a rooftop garden, but real ‘green’ projects offer much more. Energy neutral, sustainable and oxygen rich, the environments provide those who live and work in such buildings with major life benefits. The new shopping centre built upon the old Burwood Brickworks site by the Fraser Group takes this concept one step further creating a ‘Rooftop Farm’.

Not just a shopping centre but also a residential development, the Burwood project is also offering 700 new residential homes. The project is now fully approved after 2 years as a full living proposition with ‘paddock to plate’ scenarios being viable for resident cafés and restaurants.

Here is the most recent report in The Age Newspaper dated June 12th 2018.

‘World first’ development in Melbourne’s east has farm on shopping centre roof

In what used to be a brickworks in Melbourne’s east, a huge and environmentally-conscious development is springing up.

Frasers Property has created what it calls a “world first” mixed-use development in the suburb of Burwood, with a focus on lessening the impact of development and making each new building have a net positive effect on the environment.

“[The Living Building Challenge] is the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment,” Frasers’ head of retail Peri Macdonald said. “Whereas most measures look at how your building can be less bad, it looks at how your development gives back rather than just takes.”

artists impression brickworks building

Artist’s impression of the sustainable shopping centre and urban farm planned for the former Burwood Brickworks site

The challenge is set out by the Seattle-based International Living Future Institute, and no retail centre had achieved the award before Burwood Brickworks.

The centrepiece of the sustainable offering is a 2000-square-metre rooftop farm, which will be run by a yet-to-be-picked operator.

“At this stage our preferred model is that [an adjacent] restaurant is linked to the urban farm. We want a paddock-to-plate model,” Mr Macdonald said.

cgi render brickworks

A CGI render of proposed open space in the Brickworks development

A growing preference for produce grown close to where consumers live made Mr Macdonald think more urban farms could open in Melbourne.

“I think we’re definitely seeing a community preference for hyper local produce,” he said. “One of the challenges [will be] finding enough space to grow produce on a large enough scale to meet demand.”

Frasers hoped it would also be used as a teaching tool for schools and universities.

“It’s also something we see as a major attractor for the centre,” Mr Macdonald said. “And it’s something that doesn’t exist in any of the retail offerings in Melbourne for that matter.”

Frasers is planning to produce 105 per cent of the energy needed to power the development, predominantly through the use of solar panels and batteries, and features such as glazing on windows to reduce the building’s energy demands.

Head of residential Sarah Bloom said the urban farm and other sustainable features would help to sell the project’s 700 homes that will go on the market in the next few months.

“It’s the overarching package of the development that will set it apart,” she said. “That urban farm will be a truly unique proposition. There will be nothing like it.”

Work on Burwood Brickworks began on Tuesday after a two-year approval process with the Whitehorse Council.

“Approval for the project has taken some time and that’s because of the complexity of what we want to achieve … This community will set a new benchmark for what’s possible in sustainable urban design,” Ms Bloom said. “This project exemplifies everything we stand for: building sustainable, liveable communities that promote the long-term health and wellbeing of our residents.”


This is an exceptional, innovative development, but it is by no means the ‘first’ of such projects in Melbourne. Two other developments are prominent for their impeccable ‘green’ credentials.

Green buildings for purpose built offices aim to receive a Green Star Rating. Council House 2 – an administration hub for the City of Melbourne was the first building Australia-wide to achieve a Green Star ‘6 Star’ rating, the highest ranking achievable.


Green Star is a voluntary sustainability rating system for buildings in Australia. It was launched in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The Green Star rating system assesses the sustainability of projects at all stages of the built environment life cycle. Ratings can be achieved at the planning phase for communities, during the design, construction or fit out phase of buildings, or during the ongoing operational phase.

The system considers assesses and rates buildings, fitouts and communities against a range of environmental impact categories, and aims to encourage leadership in environmentally sustainable design and construction, showcase innovation in sustainable building practices, and consider occupant health, productivity and operational cost savings.

In 2013, the GBCA released a report, The Value of Green Star, which analysed data from 428 Green Star-certified projects occupying 5,746,000 million square metres across Australia and compared it to the ‘average’ Australian building and minimum practice benchmarks. The research found that, on average, Green Star-certified buildings produce 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 66% less electricity than average Australian buildings. Green Star buildings use 51% less potable water than average buildings. Green Star-certified buildings also have been found to recycle 96 per cent of their construction and demolition waste, compared to the average 58% for new construction projects.



Council House 2 (CH2) simply changed the landscape of its local area. it has inspired developers, designers and architects across Australia and the world to achieve higher standards of sustainability and energy efficiency. The project was supervised by Professor Robert Adams and completed in 2006. You can view a virtual tour and image gallery of the building here…

The other unique building of note is known as the 60L Building located in Leicester St in Carlton, an inner Melbourne suburb. The Headquarters of the Australian Conservation Foundation has been used to present the organisation’s vision of best practice sustainable commercial building stock. An existing building, in this case a larger warehouse underwent a revolutionary change under the stewardship of the ACF and the developer – The Green Building Partnership.


Read more about the 60L building here…


Externally the 60L building does not disturb or rupture what is a typical late Victorian era landscape.

portion of trees against office buildings

Moving into the future, we have every expectation these projects will become mainstream. City buildings, rather than creating lifeless stone canyons, will be vibrant, green living spaces. The technology, the know how and the expertise is already available. What is now required is genuine commitment from Governments and Developers. We congratulate the Fraser Group on their courage and foresight in creating such a visionary project on the old Burwood Brickworks site. Let’s hope it becomes a template for future reclamation projects. We’re looking forward to enjoying a meal and quiet coffee out there when it’s completed.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.


One thought on “The Greening of New Developments – The Fraser Group present the Burwood Brickworks Renewal Project

  1. Pingback: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Balance Architecture. | Balance Architecture

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