The new entertainment complex in the District Docklands precinct is a multi-cinema, mixed-use structure on a spatially challenging prawn-figured site. The project, adjacent to Costco and beneath the Melbourne Star Wheel, exists within a nebula of vertical infrastructure, elevated walkways and neighbouring structures.
An important component of the brief was that the project should rejuvenate the existing commercial complex. The challenge became ensuring that a building of this scale, programme and modest budget became transformative within its environment whilst meeting its developer’s ambitions.
Within this context of variously scaled structures, the project attempts to become a distinct urban element, on a site dominated vertically by the Melbourne Star and the Footscray Road and horizontally by Costco – few other structures can compete with their scalar dominance. Using both the colour and material schemes of Costco and the wheel, the project seeks to enter chromatic and material dialogue with these two structures.
Customisation and prototyping were tested extensively in the preconstruction phase, to ensure that budget and building requirements were both met. The building is also a reference to large-scale customisation.
Along this elevation and curling into its western façade, a series of custom red 210 x 305mm Zincalume triangular folds act as a kind of pleated house curtain, reiterating the building’s function whilst reconnecting it to former cinematic experience: an anticipation of the screening and illusion. Clad entirely in metal, from roof sheeting to panel to extrusion, the building also reflects upon the bricolage of Depression Era metal shelters.