The Lanes is an alternative to the conventional shopping mall.
Although it comprises 17,000 m2 of retail outlets and cinemas, it has no large outlets and consists entirely of open air pedestrian laneways either side of a large semi-covered central breezeway. This spine will contain fresh food markets and an outdoor dining court, leading to a lakeside amphitheatre.
The cinema layout also does not follow the convention of enclosed box. Instead, the cinemas flank the upper level sides of the central breezeway, with the access corridors being verandahs overlooking activity below and vice versa. A bridge connects the two sides, and restaurants and bars open to outdoor terraces. The terraces will support fresh food gardens growing produce for the dining outlets.
The dominant material proposed is brickwork, chosen for its ability to create deep textures and translucencies through perforation. The secondary material is render, sometimes colour-matched to the brickwork, sometimes in contrast, with apertures carved out to extend vistas or dramatise spaces.
A triple-vaulted CLT canopy structure 16 metres high covers the fresh food markets and recalls vaulted historic markets. The outdoor dining court is sheltered by fine steel structures acting as trellises for vines.
While retail and F&B based, The Lanes will also be the town centre for a concurrently developed lakeside residential precinct. In and around The Lanes are several community facilities such as a child care centre, medical centre, workshop and meeting spaces.
Towards the lake are proposed four apartment buildings being designed by Rafael Contreras, formerly a design architect at Zaha Hadid Architects. The amphitheatre acts as a focus to the buildings and restaurants circled around the space, and will be a venue for outdoor concerts and art installations.