History & Design
Ringwood is a suburban centre in transition.
Acknowledged as a priority of the Victorian Government’s blueprint for Melbourne’s growth, Ringwood is in the process of being transformed into the key Metropolitan Activity Centre (MAC) in Melbourne’s outer east.
During the last decade it has become the focus of significant public and private investment, employment growth, and renewal. This is the result of years of Council planning, partnership development, and relationship building.
Ringwood benefits from unsurpassed metropolitan road and rail connections. It also services a large catchment of Melbourne’s eastern growth corridor, and is the gateway to the Yarra Valley – Victoria’s premier food and wine destination.
Over the years the central part of Ringwood had become very tired, car dominated and not a pleasant space for pedestrians. Ringwood had no central focus or meeting space for the community, so creating a strong town centre and enhancing the heart of Ringwood became a priority.
To allow Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) to further expand the Eastland Shopping Centre and connect it more closely with Ringwood Station, Council entered into a series of negotiated land swaps. In essence an agreement was made between Council and QIC to swap a series of disconnected strips of public space, and the land housing the civic library, for a 3000sqm consolidated land parcel to be developed as a Town Square for Ringwood, and an improved 1500sqm library facility (now known as Realm).
Securing this consolidated land parcel meant the new Town Square would be in a central and accessible location. It also ensured great linkages between the Town Square and surrounding public spaces, Eastland and public transport.
On 29 October 2013 work commenced on the Eastland Redevelopment and exactly two years later the first stage – including Realm and the Town Square – opened on 29 October 2015.
Realm and the Town Square have set a new standard for civic amenity and citizen engagement, they have truly re-energised Ringwood’s urban centre.
Construction and fit out of Realm was possible through Council’s partnership with QIC Eastland, and funding from Council’s Capital Works budget, the Australian Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund ($3 million), and the Victorian Government’s Living Library and Community Support programs ($900,000).
Realm is a welcoming place, which cultivates participation and community togetherness.
Realm ‘the building’ is a significant piece of architecture, located in the heart of Ringwood city.
One of the key architectural features of the standout building is its bold facade. The external glass-reinforced-plastic finish is unique to Realm and creates an instant curiosity in passers-by.
When you step inside Realm you see the building and interior design features embody the cultural aspirations of our community. The space is innovative, engaging, learned and inspirational.
The grand timber and glass stairwell, located directly below the impressive skylight announces the continuation of the facility across three storeys, stirs curiosity (ground floor, level one and two).
The blurring or melding of spaces is a theme of the facility, and across all levels the large open plan spaces are segmented simply – with interior design only where possible – to create areas that suit a variety of purposes. A primary design consideration of the building floor area was to have the capacity to respond to changing functional requirements in the short, medium and long term.
Realm and Town Square deliver on Council’s Maroondah 2040 community vision by creating a vibrant, thriving and accessible town centre in Ringwood, in no time they will become key landmarks for the community.
To find out more about the Ringwood Metropolitan Activity Centre visit the Ringwood Going Places website.