A New Normal

A multi-level carpark for electric vehicles becomes an after-hours pop up’ venue for arts lovers and onlookers – making the city livelier and giving it a more resilient future. A new normal. 

We’re one of 15 design practices in Melbourne that have come together to prototype A New Normal’, a range of big ideas for merging technology and culture to move the city from consumer to producer by 2030.

The inventive, potentially profitable initiatives cover everything from solar power to water use, with Hassell designers contributing an unexpected solution for energy storage – in a carpark we see every day from the windows of our Melbourne studio.

Along with collaborators we shared our ideas in live-streamed talks and immersive experiences on a city rooftop for Melbourne Design Week 2021.


Right now, our city of 5 million people consumes more than it produces. We rank as the second most liveable city globally, yet we’re also on the verge of the top 1% for emissions per capita.

The metro area burns enough brown coal to fill our tallest building – the 300-metre Eureka Tower – 100 times over each year, a major drain on resources.

So how do we shift Melbourne to A New Normal’? One way is by re-booting the carpark – a sleeping giant so many evenings and weekends.


We looked at our carpark neighbour’ through new eyes, seeing its potential to power both the city and the arts.

Our solution fills the building with electric cars, batteries linked together to both charge and discharge energy. This Vehicle to Grid’ technology is crucial to a more sustainable city, and the carpark is a place to fast-track its uptake while adding cultural spark to an under-used site.

As the carpark empties after 5pm, it’s ready for a night-time revival as a unique destination for music or theatre. 

The audience’s electric cars and bikes power the performance – one of the many creative ways our city can embrace a different kind of future.


Wurundjeri and Bunurong Country
Melbourne, Australia






1,000 sqm carpark


Finding Infinity、Brec Electricians(文化电池银行项目)

Design team

David Harrap, Steve Coster, Kyle Hui, Sarah Marcius, Christian Borchert, Quan Tran, Emily Shaw, Nathania Widjanarko, Adam Roggero, David Gan


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Let’s build something to be proud of for generations to come.”

Sally Capp Lord Mayor of Melbourne

The other collaborators on A New Normal’ are:

  • Electric Car Conversions - Grimshaw X Greenshoot X Greenaway
  • Electrify Transport - Foolscap Studio
  • Electrify Architecture - Clare Cousins Architects
  • Efficient Architecture - Fender Katsalidis
  • Solar Architecture - John Wardle Architects
  • Solar and Wind Grid Scale - Ha
  • Water Unlimited - Openwork
  • Water Unlimited - NMBW
  • Organic Waste to Energy - WOWOWA
  • Organic Waste to Energy - Six Degrees Architects
  • End Landfill - Dreamer
  • End Landfill - Edition Office
  • New Architecture - Kennedy Nolan
  • New Architecture - Fieldwork

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