Cox Architecture was established in Sydney in 1962 by Philip Cox OA. From their first major project with Tocal Agricultural College in New South Wales, incorporating Sydney School, Cox Architecture focuses on the traditional Australian cultural context. Two principles followed through their designs are to plan cities and buildings adaptable to cultural, technological, social, and economic change and to create sustainable environmental strategies that fit in rather than be forced in. Cox architecture’s secret lies in deep and sensitive research into the context of a place, blended with sincere, expressive structure and architecture. Cox focuses on various fields of architecture, interior design, urban design, signage, and wayfinding. The office has expanded to multiple locations in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, the Middle East, and Europe.

Casey Market Town – Introduction

Casey Market Town is an 11,000 sqm shopping centre located in the Gungahlin region of Canberra that opened in May 2016. The City of Casey has a resident population of 365,239 as of 2021, and a significant population of families lies in the low socio-economic demographic. 

As visioned by Cox Architecture, the market town was to be easily accessible and unlike any other in Canberra. The architecture of the market town integrates into the identity of the City of Casey, and the reviews of the Gungahlin community are excellent. The market town offers a variety of supermarkets, food and restaurant options, health and beauty retail, and many more under its modern exterior. Casey Market Town was awarded the top award for the Commercial Architecture category at the 2017 ACT Architecture Awards.

Master Planning

Casey Market Town by Cox Architecture - Sheet1
Plan of Casey Market Town_©Photo by Google Map

Cox Architecture planned the layout of the structure organised to reduce any negative visual and acoustic influence on the streetscape. The main principle Cox Architecture followed in Casey Market Town’s planning is sustainability. A mixed-use model of retail, commercial and residential structures within the core commercial precinct with the integration of the pedestrian and public transport traffic reinforces the sustainability approach by Cox Architecture. 

The Casey Market town is strategically planned in the Casey neighbourhood with direct access from the Clarrie Hermes Dr main road, which has access to the local public transport and pedestrian networks. Casey Market Town adopts a sustainable approach in its master planning and architecture by utilising a mixed-use model of commercial, retail, and residential types within the core commercial precinct. The design uses active facades parallel to the street frontage, over 400 car parks, and public open space. 

Design and Architecture

Casey Market Town by Cox Architecture - Sheet2
Entrance View Casey Market Town_©Photo by Cox Architecture

The market town designed by Cox Architecture was to be integrated into the land’s natural contours for maximum utilisation of the various levels and heights. The centre consists of several retail spaces with two major supermarkets and a variety of speciality shops. The overall exterior stands out due to its bold choice of colour and the elevational design. The retail spaces are designed with a centralised common space with high ceilings and windows at a high level that provides ample light to the interior minimising artificial energy usage. 

The landscape adjacent to the market town is a green patch connected to Casey pond, a lovely recreational spot that also serves as a stormwater catchment for the area. The loading dock area is fitted with a roller shutter that reduces noise and creates a visual barrier from the residential area. The market town is also facilitated with low noise air cooled chillers; high efficiency condensing boilers, air handling units serving the mall, supermarkets, and speciality retailers; hydronic in-slab heating; and a ventilated loading dock equipped with an air quality monitoring system.

Materials

Front Elevation of Casey Market Town_©Photo by Cox Architecture

The building materials wisely chosen by Cox Architecture-glass, plywood, metal cladding, and concrete-are used in the construction of Casey Market Town. These material choices encourage the centre’s longevity and reduce maintenance. The loading dock is constructed of metal, supermarkets are built of precast boxes, and the speciality retail spaces are of glazed elements to attract public interaction. The common spaces for the circulation of people are finished with timber to create a sense of warmth throughout the connecting spaces. 

People’s Experience

Cox Architecture has successfully captured the need and necessities of the Gungahlin community and delivered a market that is sophisticated, classy, and people-friendly. The users of the market leave with a satisfying sense of retail, with multiple options for recreation, the market town itself is a one-stop destination. The precise number of parking spaces and connectivity to the pedestrian network is an added blessing. The outdoor seating and food court create an inviting environment for the public and creates an attractive space. 

Aptly designed retail spaces like this create an immersive experience for users of various age groups. The sustainability, accessibility, uniqueness, and bold character of Casey’s market made it a ‘ market town’  for the community.

References:

Gungahlin, M. (n.d.). Casey Market Town wins 2017 ACT Architecture Award. [online] My Gungahlin. Available at: https://mygungahlin.com.au/casey-market-town-wins-2017-act-architecture-award/3696/ [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

‌benmax.com.au. (n.d.). Casey Market Town. [online] Available at: https://benmax.com.au/project/casey-market-town/ [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

‌Canfan (n.d.). Casey Market Town – Start of Development. [online] Riotact. Available at: https://the-riotact.com/casey-market-town-start-of-development/138698 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

‌profile.id.com.au. (n.d.). Home | City of Casey | Community profile. [online] Available at: https://profile.id.com.au/casey.

COX. (n.d.). Casey Market Town. [online] Available at: https://www.coxarchitecture.com.au/project/casey-market-town/ [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

‌Google Maps. (n.d.). Google Maps. [online] Available at: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Casey+Market+Town/@-35.1744656 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

Author

Ann has completed her B.Arch from VNIT Nagpur and M.Arch in Recreation Architecture from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Her passion lies in the design of public spaces for a livable city that are inclusive and accessible to all. Her focus lies in creating spaces that are resilient to time and need; than just satisfying the aesthetic appeal.

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