Victorian Desalination Plant, VIC

Role architecture

Value $4.5 billion

Client Thiess Degrémont Joint Venture

Completion date 2013

Awards 2014 Australian Institute of Architects, Victorian Architecture Award; 2014 Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for Commercial Architecture


In 2007, the Victorian Government introduced the next stage of the Government’s “Our Water Our Future” Plan. The key to this Plan was the development of the largest desalination plant in Australia, providing a long term solution to secure Victoria’s water supply. Under a Partnerships Victoria contract, AquaSure delivered the Victorian Desalination Project (VDP) as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), providing one of the largest reverse-osmosis desalination plants in the world. The plant is capable of supplying up to 150 billion litres of water a year; more than a third of Melbourne’s annual water needs to ensure drinking water is available even in times of drought.

AquaSure contracted the Thiess Degrémont Joint Venture to construct the VDP. As part of this arrangement, Beca and Parsons Brinckerhoff delivered engineering design services and peckvonhartel with ARM Architecture (ARM) in a joint venture, provided architectural services for the 25 buildings that constitute the Plant. peckvonhartel and ARM worked closely with landscape architecture firm, ASPECT Studios, to conceptualise, develop and execute a design that provides the total integration of architecture and landscape on the coastal site at Wonthaggi, Victoria.

The VDP achieves the total integration of architecture and landscape by recreating the original coastal dune formation and habitat that had been eroded by the use of the land for farming. The re-created dune formations provide a balanced cut and fill and this approach is considered within the concept of the “green line”, a continuous ribbon of landscaping that transforms the site as well as providing visual and acoustic protection of the Plant to surrounding areas. A result of much research and development, the green roof is the largest in the southern hemisphere and further assists the acoustic containment of the Plant.