Located in the thriving Western Sydney catchment, the award-winning Eastern Creek Quarter (ECQ), designed by i2C Architects for Frasers Property Australia – brings together the community, offering more than simply a place to shop, dine and be entertained.
Sitting on a 15-hectare site, this completed 13,000sqm hub is the first stage in an anticipated three-part project set to transform the region. Conceptually based around a celebration of culture and nature, this planning principle reflects the diverse community in Eastern Creek and embraces the surrounding parklands.
Oriented to embrace nature, the connection ensures locals appreciate the beautiful location whilst also experiencing the centre itself. This initial stage of the entire development has successfully created a place where the diverse local residents can share their own traditions through cultural events that integrate dining and fun family activities.
ECQ is envisioned to be the pride of the community with architectural elements conceptualised to be significant to locals and to Eastern Creek. With rich materiality, the architectural skin creates a significant architectural feature of uniquely designed precast concrete and bespoke metal panels, reflective of the movement and flowing water against rocks in the nearby creek. These biophilic elements work together to create different visual effects over the exterior walls during the course of the day as the light conditions change.
“The aim was to capture the ripples and waves the water makes and translate this into a subtle building envelope. I wanted to create a design that evokes pride for the diverse community of Eastern Creek”, said i2C Project Designer, Dino Delotavo.
As a global leader in sustainability, with a 6 Star Green Star Design and As Built rating, ECQ’s environmental experiences are what set it apart. Drawing on biophilic principles, elements including internal landscaping and tree forms, a natural materials focus, natural light and ventilation, and vanities that face each other to promote interaction between visitors, were all considered.
Skylights along the external mall edges maximise daylight. Through a ‘stack’ effect, louvres within the external mall allow hot air to escape, enabling cross-ventilation of the centre.
Given the site’s location and climate, the Heat Island Effect was a concern. To assist in reducing heat absorption, light-coloured roofing materials were implemented, alongside 30 per cent tree canopy coverage and shade sails in the car park.
Meanwhile, a rooftop solar PV array generates energy onsite, reducing grid demand, while rainwater collected from the roof and car park is stored and reused throughout the centre and for landscape irrigation. Even water collected from the carwash roof is recycled by the carwash tenancy. It is no surprise then that ECQ was awarded the Winner of the 2020 Master Builder Association NSW Awards for Excellence in Energy Efficiency.
When briefing i2C Architects, Frasers Property expressed its desire to create a built form that became the pride of the community, ensuring the centre was open and welcoming, whilst also maintaining a commitment to the local environment.
“We strive to create places that have a positive impact on the community and its environment and help to build stronger, smarter, happier neighbourhoods where people feel a sense of belonging,” said Joanna Russell, General Manager, Retail Development at Frasers Property Australia.
“All of this is undertaken with the lightest possible carbon footprint, ECQ is a culmination of all we’ve learnt to date in terms of sustainable design, ongoing operational efficiency and social interaction.
“We have embraced biophilic design by connecting the building directly with the environment. The ECQ social hub and adjoining deck area connects our customers to the open space, providing the community with an appreciation of nature unconsciously,” she said.
Clerestory glazing and skylights balance a roof structure that embodies a ‘cut and fold’ principle, whilst a feature blade wall runs through ECQ, cleverly connecting the indoors with the outdoors. This connection allows visitors to experience volume and space with the design embracing ample plants, reinterpreting the parklands inside.
Importantly, the design fosters dialogue between the store owners and locals.
Opened successfully during the pandemic, i2C adapted the design to ensure ample outdoor space for dining and to easily accommodate restrictions with pick up points for online food orders.
Sustainability at its core, ECQ promotes a healthy lifestyle to its visitors and centre staff with charging stations for electric vehicles, green initiatives and reduced light pollution.
Already leaving a positive imprint on the community, ECQ is not only receiving rave reviews amongst locals and visitors online but has also been recognised in several industry awards.
After almost five years of planning, the first stage of ECQ is now complete, standing proudly amongst the community, fulfilling the project vision that it is a place people are proud of and feel completely comfortable.
Client: Frasers Property Australia
Builder: Quasar Constructions
Interior Design Concept: DesignOffice
Green Star Rating: Retail Centre 6 Star Green Star Design and As Built
2020 UDIA Awards, Winner, Excellence in Retail Development
2020 Master Builder Association NSW Awards, Winner, Best New Retail Building (over $20m)
2020 Master Builder Association NSW Awards, Winner, Excellence in Energy Efficiency
2020 Urban Developer Awards: Finalist, Retail Development of the Year
2020 Sustainability Awards; Shortlisted Commercial Architecture, (Large)