NH Architecture’s 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 loated at the nexus of a quickly evolving area: Waterfront City to the south and the development of the railway yards across Footscray Road. The masterplan for the site proposes somewhat of a conundrum: big box retail beside Melbourne’s newest and biggest tourist attraction.
The building aims to engage with a number of existing urban conditions: Footscray Road, the adjacent wetlands, the entertainment precinct, and The Observation Wheel. The building has a 15,000 m2 roof, the largest and most visible elevation. It embraces the idea of ‘big’. A super-graphic of alternately coloured cladding operates at the roof plane - its dynamism confounding an understanding of the building’s underlying form. The large scale figure is contrasted with a secondary, more regular pattern of roof lights. This graphic wraps down the facades and extends into the landscape. A sloping plaza connects to the pavement establishing ‘The Mat’. At 35m wide and 80m long, ‘The Mat’ provides both a strong physical and visual connection to the Observation Wheel and Waterfront City and a robust public space catering for shoppers, visitors and tourists alike.