Coke Works Future Focus – Architecture with David Randerson, Director, DKO Architecture

Redevelopment of the former Corrimal Coke Works will revitalise this derelict industrial property and provide a catalyst for growth of Corrimal into its identified role as the major centre for the northern suburbs of Wollongong.

ICC and Legacy Property are working with a team of expert consultants to plan the redevelopment as an exemplar of urban renewal in the region. In the issue, we focus on architecture with David Randerson, Director at DKO Architecture (www.dko.com.au)

How is the approach different between preparing a master plan and designing buildings?

Preparing a master plan involves considering the design of a whole community and connecting buildings with the surrounding environment. While you are planning for the site to go through a process of transformation, it is important that it responds to the existing context.

A master plan focuses on the relationship between future built form and public spaces – in particular the parks, plazas and streets. In this respect, it is largely a civic exercise.

What most excites you about the Corrimal Coke Works opportunity?

The Coke Works was off limits to the broader community during its operational life, so the opportunity to unlock new connections is incredibly exciting. Community, by definition, is about connection – this has been so apparent in recent times when our ability for physical connection has been heavily reduced.

The redevelopment will establish new physical connections, including regional cycleways and paths, and significantly enhanced access to Corrimal Station. Just as importantly, we are creating a range of new spaces that will facilitate opportunities for people to gather, socialise and build connections.

New development can sometimes cause concerns in the local community. What would you say to residents in Corrimal about the redevelopment of the Corrimal Coke Works?

Our approach is always site-specific with a focus on community outcomes. Urban renewal projects can often cause concern in the community, but our experience is that local communities ultimately embrace these projects once they see the real benefits starting to emerge.

This project is undergoing a thorough and rigorous assessment to ensure that all technical matters are satisfactorily addressed and the outcomes will deliver an exemplar of urban renewal.

How do you see the redevelopment of the Corrimal Coke Works being a positive for the Corrimal community?

Master planning a site like this is hugely transformative and exciting. The redevelopment of the Coke Works will result in a broad range of benefits to the local community – high quality new parks and green spaces, improved flooding outcomes, new housing choices and a unique heritage precinct to name a few. Corrimal already has many great attributes, but the community has shown its desire for further revitalisation through the Corrimal Town Centre Plan and this project can provide a real catalyst in this respect.

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