This project is the fourth stage of the Wellington Village Shopping Centre, a development that has evolved over 20 years. The site fronts busy Wellington Road and was originally set aside for a service station. It is an isolated parcel of land separated from the main commercial centre by the road alignment imposed on the development. In a greener change of heart the developer decided to forgo the petrol dollar and risk a stand-alone extension to the retail and commercial spaces of the Wellington Village Shopping Centre. As such the development would have to relate to the existing architectural language of the main centre yet have an autonomous identity.
The architectural context had been established initially by the terra cotta louvered colonnade of the main centre also by Coy Yiontis Architects. A long linear public space, it responded to the community aspirations of the developer, gave the development its ‘image’ and set the design direction for the development of the centre as a whole. The brief called for an architecturally striking structure that would work in concord with the main centre. The budget would be strictly ‘commercial’, meaning built at a similar rate to other suburban retail/office developments. The building would have to maximize the net lettable area extractable from the site, have flexibility for tenancy sizing and minimize non-commercial space.
Like its predecessors, this building uses screens to define its façade; this time vertical and of corten steel allowed to rust over time. The form of the building has evolved however. Referred to in-house as ‘the Blob’, the floor plan is organic and a striking contrast to its older neighbours.
The design evolved as series of subtle overlapping curves and counter curves; the first level extending to shelter the retail level below and produce an undulating form reminiscent of an Aalto vase. The screen of vertical weathering steel louvres serves to shield the upper glass facades from the sun and gives the project its unique visual identity and through colour and texture creates the familial link with the main centre.