The Link by Make Architects
Make Architects has completed a new project for Vicinity Centers at Chadstone shopping center in Melbourne in February 2020. It is called The Link and is designed to connect the shopping center, (the largest in the Southern Hemisphere) with the newly opened Hotel Chadstone Melbourne, MGallery by Sofitel. The Link is a tranquil walkway that replaces part of a multi-level car park and creates a more accessible, engaging entrance to Chadstone – the Fashion Capital.
Make’s design team fostered close collaboration to bring crafted, specialist materials from Europe. They used Australian experts and engineers to create the route that spans 110m, stretches up to 15m high and blurs the boundary between different leisure, commercial and retail uses at the center and also between an internal and external environment.
Inspired by the arched glass roof that is iconic to Chadstone, The Link is formed from a curved ‘glulam’ timber structure with a tensile, semi-translucent ‘PTFE’ fabric stretched over to protect customers, guests and visitors from the weather, yet still connect people to the environment.
The simplicity of its materials, belies the complexity of the Italian Larch timber diagrid structure which essentially acts as a harmonica – each element holding the other in position, albeit supported by hidden steel foundations.
The design itself is sustainable, open at the sides to provide cross-ventilation and eliminate the need for air conditioning. Artificial lighting is minimal, primarily used to illuminate the structure at nighttime. The Link has been designed for effortless maintenance and to stand the test time, to integrate different uses and to itself be used for different things now and in the future. It was delivered in an extremely tight timescale and the project team is delighted with how it combines European craftsmanship with Australian expertise to deliver a space that works perfectly for this location.
Jacob Alsop, partner at Make Architects said:
“The Link is designed with the local climate in mind. It provides shade but is an-open structure and provides a welcome change from the many hermetic air-conditioned buildings that dominate Australian cities.
Its form is inherently urban, reminiscent of covered passageways and thereby reinforces the idea of The Link as a street and also a public, civic space.”
Fiona Mackenzie, Chadstone Director said: “We’re very proud of what we’re creating as Chadstone evolves to become a world-class, integrated destination for retail, dining, entertainment, tourism, business and now luxury accommodation. The Link has enhanced the amenity for the more than 24 million people who move between our Tower One offices, Hotel Chadstone and the retail precinct every year.”
The landscape architect for the project was LAT 27 and the lighting designer was NDY Light.