Painting a picture of the future
Mirvac Design celebrates the 20 year anniversary of a truly unique masterplanned project – The Peninsula, Burswood.
The sheer scale of the redevelopment of the old Swan Portland Cement site was not for the faint-hearted, but buoyed by the success of its urban renewal projects in NSW and Victoria, Mirvac Design was more than ready to tackle a project that it promised would deliver benefits for generations to come.
The Peninsula, Burswood now marks a spectacular gateway to the Town of Victoria Park and Perth CBD, offering an idyllic inner-city lifestyle complete with parkland, lakes and a genuine sense of community.
“We set out to do something quite unique that had not been seen in Perth before. It wasn’t just about buildings it was about creating a community” notes Mirvac Project Director, Steve Kavalsky.
The 17-hectare site on the Burswood Peninsula was an opportunity to create a new community that connected to the city, the Swan River and the emerging lifestyle and entertainment precincts within the area.
Mirvac Design Director, Andrew La had been with Mirvac for six years when in 2003 he was sent west with the task of formulating the design framework and masterplan for The Peninsula Burswood. His architect’s eye quickly saw the enormous potential of the vast Burswood Peninsula site to produce a truly remarkable place that connected to the Swan River and the nearby Perth CBD. Given the site’s history it was an enormous leap of faith and imagination.
“It was a blank canvas ” recalled Andrew. “This was a big project signalling Mirvac’s entry into Western Australia and our founder Bob Hamilton was very keen to introduce Sydney design and quality to the west.“
Both the Town of Victoria Park and WA Government were determined to see the Burswood Peninsula developed, but translating a vision into a blueprint that delivers the desired residential, social and economic outcomes is complex and takes a very special skillset, deep pockets and deeper commitment.
With The Peninsula Burswood now well past the halfway mark, it’s easy to forget that Perth was a different place 20 years ago. “There was not a lot of diversity in housing types,” said Mr La. “Perth didn’t have apartments and the type of row housing that you see in Sydney. So, our first step was to draft new guidelines that set height limits and defined smaller lot typology. The council was pretty open-minded because they wanted to regenerate the site,” said Mr La.
His vision for The Peninsula was centred around how people would want to live now and into the future, whilst making the most of the surroundings. “With every new project I try to think about what people will enjoy from day one. It’s like trying to paint a picture of the future. I imagined that people would enjoy seeing the skyline of Perth, the Swan River and the golf course, the sunrise and sunset in the mornings and evenings. And then the neighbourhood coming together in pocket parks.
Project Director Steve Kavalsky says the early delivery of landscaping and infrastructure was critical to the success of The Peninsula, signalling the quality and desirability of the future neighbourhood even before a single home was constructed. “We invested in the landscaping upfront to set the scene so people could start to see our vision and the quality. We needed to create instant confidence in the Mirvac brand,” said Mr Kavalsky. “The location and built form choices were unique in Perth at the time..