Shaping the future: Buchan designs Victoria’s largest mixed-use precinct


A new era in mixed use design is dawning in Melbourne’s suburbs with M-City billed to become the largest master planned community in Victoria.

Designed by The Buchan Group, the $1B project for Saraceno Group and Schiavello will create a viable alternative to city living where people can live, work, stay and play, all within a 35,000m2 site.

The dynamic community hub, will cater to just about everyone with its three residential towers, 26,000m2 retail mall anchored by Kmart, Woolworths and a Village cinema complex, a commercial office tower, a 5 star hotel and community facilities including a day care centre and medical centre. Strategically located close to Australia’s largest university, Monash, the development will also serve the growing influx of international students.

Principal Harvey Male said the project presents a new style of suburban living, with the right balance of infrastructure, shopping and lifestyle options providing the complete package of convenience and community outside of the CBD.

“M-City promotes a sea change in the mixed-use sector. People don’t always want to move too far from the area where they grew up or travel long distances for work or activities, and M-City offers 24 hour living in the one location with everything they need at their door,” said Harvey.

“A typical day in the life of an M-City resident might look like this: a workout in the gym in the morning, dropping off the kids at the on-site childcare centre, walking to work in the nearby education and science precinct, and a quick catch up with friends at the hotel bar before picking up dinner from Woolworths on the way home.”

The project’s community focus is reflected in Buchan’s design through the seamless integration of the apartment units with the commercial, entertainment and retail spaces and wider residential neighbourhood. The connection is enhanced via a sequence of public spaces, with links and trails and open landscaped areas creating a village atmosphere.  People can come together in the rooftop garden and enjoy leisure amenities including a pool and spa, gym, tennis court and a cabana patio designed for entertaining and BBQs.

“The main focus of the design was appropriate connectivity,” said Harvey.

“Functional connectivity in terms of linking the spaces and ease of traffic flow, but also emotional connectivity by creating a sense of place and community.”

Concepts of rhythm are woven into the design to reflect the project’s vision of a pulsing urban mini metropolis. A mix of tones and textures transform the feel of spaces according to their different uses and contexts, emphasising the experiential nature of each precinct. The rush of the retail spaces contrast with the calm of communal outdoor areas which are softened with natural materials and greenery.

The rhythmic theme carries through to the apartment interiors, which strike a balance between classic and contemporary. The light filled apartments are styled with high quality fixtures and finishes including mirrored splashbacks, 2 pack and timber joinery, and the beauty of natural stone with veining that suggests its own individuality. 

“The first residential tower sold out within two weekends of launching and 80% of buyers were locals,” said Harvey.

“That gives you an indication of the demand for this type of lifestyle.”

M-City is expected to be completed in 2021.