A retail development with Coles and Speciality stores in Colac borders Barongarook creek trail. Resulting architectural and landscaping solutions have been developed on this sensitive site to ensure the amenity is not compromised.
The subject site is zoned Medium Density Commercial and is tucked away beside the railway line in the eastern most portion of inner-Colac. It is a sensitive site due to its bordering Barongarook Creek which, along with its associated vegetation, begins at Lake Colac and meanders its way through the township with sufficient charm. Its wandering nature has been singled out – in the Colac Otway Shire Development Study, 2013 – as an opportunity to develop a public trail which will connect the residential areas of Colac with Murray Street and the lake beyond.
The 18800sqm site is made up of a disused petrol station, three reclaimed residential lots, an existing Road Reserve (Bromfield St) and a triangular wedge of Parks and Public Recreation Zoned (PPRZ) land on which no built form or hardstand is permitable. The existing public trail terminates at the north-eastern corner of our site, in this PPRZ, making our site a transition point between the existing and proposed trail development, placing particular importance on the amenity of the north-eastern aspect of our built form proposal and bringing the usual challenges of surveillance and activation into play.
Siting of the development has proven the biggest challenge. Council had requested the supermarket face north with the majority of the parking at the rear. This would have made the main car park difficult to reach, at a considerable distance from, and level far below, the supermarket floor level. It would have also lowered parking numbers and prevented ant-track activation to any specialty stores therefore also lowering the commercial viability of the scheme.
With a creek running along the eastern boundary, a raised railway line on the southern boundary, and an existing large office along the majority of the northern boundary the only genuine opportunity for activation and/or views to the centre was Queen Street to the west. As the only point of entry (both servicing and public use) the development and car parking has been sited to address this aspect. Although this pushes the services/loading zone to the creek interface considerable time has been spent providing architectural and landscape screening solutions, including a sculptural timber wall to the entire northern supermarket façade, to ensure council are satisfied that the amenity of the creek trail is not compromised.
The supermarket has been pushed away from the creek as part of this balance, and specific cut/fill diagrams and parking diagrams required by council as part of the discussion to the necessity of the current supermarket location in the face of existing site levels, public amenity and retail viability.
The requirement for screening to the less amenable aspects of the supermarket façades has in fact turned these into the most interesting parts of the development. A sculptural timber screen with associated planting forms a beautiful entry sequence from the proposed trail, blending with a colour feature wall to transition from the natural environment of the creek to the built form.
The design of western façade was similarly focused on capturing views to the raised mall roof form and signage box, whilst lower level canopies and secondary operable timber awnings were designed in section to ensure adequate sunshading to the western facing glazing.
Bromfield Street, Colac, VICColac, VIC