Dairy Road Industrious Neighbourhood Masterplan


Dairy Road is a masterplan for an area on the industrial fringe of Canberra, Australia. Assemble were commissioned by the developers of the site, Molonglo, to design the masterplan to provide over 100,000sqm of commercial and industrial space alongside a residential neighbourhood developed by David Chipperfield Architects.

The Dairy Road site is on Ngunnawal Country and is on the edge of Jerrabomberra creek, a tributary of the Molonglo river which runs through Canberra. The creek is set in a wetland landscape formed from the damming of the Molonglo to make Lake Burley Griffin in central Canberra.

©Molonglo aerial view of the Dairy Road site

Fyshwick looking North ©ACT Archives 1968

To the north of the site is a sewage treatment facility, to the east an interstate highway across which is the large industrial district of Fyshwick and to the south a railway linking Canberra and Sydney.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands, ©Bluebell

Jerrabomberra Wetlands, ©Bluebell

The masterplan interweaves 10 new buildings with 3 existing industrial buildings and a series of key landscapes that relate the site to the wider context: an on-site wetland for treating surface water, a forest garden, a public square and a series of working yards relating to some of the industrial uses.

The form and scale of the buildings are influenced by the agricultural setting, the work of photographers such as David Plowden and industrial buildings like the Sunila pulp mill. They are designed to provide a variety both in terms of how they are experienced, but also in terms of the spaces they provide for different tenants and users which are expected to vary from sports pitches through to a brewery and a motel.

Wetland buildings, model by JAM, image ©JAM

To define the architectural character we have developed a range of façade types that get deployed across the site to give the buildings varied characters and support their environmental performance. These comprise of a series of metal awnings, vertical fins and horizontal light shelves which are being developed for the first buildings to be built out on the site as well as principles for how the rest of the buildings might be articulated.

Assemble’s work on the masterplan has been delivered in collaboration with a wide cast of collaborators including CK Architecture, Jane Irwin Landscape Architects, JAM, Ell Ell Architects, Farrokh Aman, Indesco amongst many others.

Wetland buildings, model by JAM, image ©JAM

Our masterplan came out of a series of discussions about the future of Dairy Road that were held with Molonglo in 2021 around a series of topics: the industrial city, social structures, living and dwelling and terrestrial urbanism. These discussions culminated in a series of recommendations for the site many of which were taken up in the development of the plan for the Industrious Neighbourhood.

Jane Irwin Landscape Architects
EllEll Architects
Ritchie Daffin
Structure Workshop
Farrokh Aman
Phil Christou
Mark Brearley
Turner & Townsend
Helen Bull
Irénée Scalbert
Local Works Studio
Danièle Hromak
Penny Wilson
Frances Northrop
Kate Riggs
Helen Griffiths
Linda Tegg
Anna Puigjaner
Martin Miles
Carles Camprubi
Pierre D’Avoine
Harriet Warden
Christian Spencer Davies
Ken De Cooman
CK Architects