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cocoroc western treatment plant 

Since time immemorial, water holds stories: equally, quickly and interminably erased through inundation, erosion, corrosion, intervention.  Like time, water finds its passage, its transformations rendered by its movements.

At Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant in Werribee much has been removed and much remade; wetland to farmland, waste to production, treatment ponds to habitat, a town to a myth.

This project continues that story, inverting lost and found, set within a continuously shifting territory of land, water, and material transformation to provide a new sewerage treatment plant administration and educational centre for Melbourne Water across the heritage township site of Cocoroc. 

Cocoroc is a story of recovery, restoration and reimagining, using time and water.  The process uncovered value in items and elements scattered around the site: foundational traces, fragmentary objects, vanished operations and scattered materials.  Through interrogation and interpretation, the project brought long-forgotten things to life, recomposing objects and ideas into a new poetic narrative for the site.  This approach guided site layout, access and movement and infrastructure deployment, recreating the site into a contemporary place, for community, ecology and engagement, while establishing new relationships with the past.


The outcomes consolidate and communicate Melbourne Water’s ambitious visions for sustainability and engagement into a comprehensive site response.  Diverse stakeholder input was critical to the outcome, especially in returning social, environmental, and cultural relevance to what had become a site, lost in space and time.

Cocoroc western treatment plant




Werribee, VIC


Melbourne Water






JMA Architecture, Alluvium Consulting, Northrop Engineering


Rory Gardiner

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