A retail experience like no other

Opening in December 2018, construction of the first stage of the much anticipated Birtinya Town Centre development on the Sunshine Coast is underway. With a nature-infused shopping destination inspired by our Queensland climate, the vibrant fresh food convenience centre will feature lush greenery and natural architectural finishes. The open-air compliments the relaxed and coastal lifestyle of the community and the health and wellness hub it sits within. We sat down with Artie Manalac, Senior Architect for Design for Stockland’s Commercial Property business to share with the community what experiences they can expect from this brand-new fresh food precinct.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role.

I work within the Commercial Property team and I have been designing community-oriented ‘town centre’ style shopping destinations for Stockland for over 8 years now.

How does your design of the Centre reflect the lifestyle here on the Sunshine Coast?

We’ve taken inspiration from the major characteristics of the local environment, bringing the outdoors in with open spaces, high ceiling voids and significant landscaping that embraces the natural relaxed coastal theme. We’ve used materials and palettes that reflect the coastal surrounds with lush greenery planting and prints, warm timbers, weatherboard and local materials and detailed colourful designs. In addition we’ve focused on introducing lighting features around the dining hubs to create a distinct market-place atmosphere and welcoming night-time ambience.

As greenfield sites can be rare, how did this excite and influence your design for Stockland Birtinya?

It is both exciting and daunting, to create something from a blank slate and still achieve that sense of community connection. We have deliberately added boutique laneways and courtyards rather than wide malls and walkways to foster that intimacy and sense of discovery. We have also included significant landscaping works to provide flexible community spaces where the community can connect and socialise.

What can customers expect once the centre is complete?

Again, the point of difference of this centre is the gardens and greenery integrated into the design, creating a shopping sanctuary that is befitting of Queensland’s tropical climate and our love of the outdoors. We all know that a fully-realised garden environment takes time to grow and establish itself, however we are endeavouring to deliver a significant impact upon opening, with mature native trees providing a canopy under which shoppers can browse.

What is your favourite part of the design?

I like the glass-roofed cross malls that give the customers a feeling of being outside but while remaining protected from the elements. The benefits of natural light are endless and not only will it illuminate the centre with the sunshine our region is known for, but the health and wellbeing effects are also important, as an influential driver behind the design of this centre. As the centre is naturally ventilated, the visual impact of seeing the sky whilst being covered completes the shopper experience.

Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating liveable spaces?

That is a hard question to answer as every project design is bespoke but generally speaking, Hastings Street in Noosa played a role with its coastal vibe, rainforest and bustling streetscape. The outlook, the landscape and the people all create a cosy buzz that truly showcases the local culture and the naturally-ventilated approach we’ve taken at the new Stockland Birtinya Town Centre. We know it’s the people who create the experience, not the buildings, so we genuinely design for the customer with The Avenue, a pedestrian laneway and our open-air dining precinct.

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