The Costco project creates a striking and distinctive figure in the landscape, unique in its silhouette against the profile of the city and the Observation Wheel. The site is located at the nexus of a quickly evolving area, where Waterfront City becomes ‘The District’ to the south and the development of the railway yards across Footscray Road.
The building engages with a number of existing urban conditions: Footscray Road, the adjacent wetlands, the entertainment precinct, and the Observation Wheel.
The large scale figure is contrasted with a secondary, more regular pattern of roof lights. This graphic wraps down the façades and extends into the landscape. A sloping plaza connects to the pavement establishing ‘The Mat’ at 35m wide and 80m long, this provides both a strong physical and visual connection to the Observation Wheel and Waterfront City, as well as a robust public space catering for shoppers, visitors and tourists alike.
The building has a 15,000 m2 roof, the largest and most visible elevation, which embraces the idea of ‘big’. A supergraphic of alternately coloured cladding operates at the roof plane, its dynamism confounding an understanding of the building’s form.
The project addresses the potential incongruity of big-box retail next to Melbourne’s biggest tourist attraction, through the building’s bold and dramatic figure.
The design merges street-level parking with the entrance to the wholesalers, via a sweeping concrete ramp which transects the landscape. The adjacent banks also act as effective noise barriers from the traffic of Footscray Road.