Architecture practice TERROIR has designed a new visitor center for Victoria’s Puffing Billy Railway in Australia. The $20 million project is sited within the Dandenong Ranges, 40 kilometres east of Melbourne. TERROIR were shortlisted from an open tender as one of five firms to compete in a design competition. The studio's strategy was to focus on creating a visitor experience anchored within the authentic sights, smells and sounds of the railway.
Located on the line is Emerald Lake Park, the a scenic destination on the railway. The importance of this stop on the railway was recognized with the decision to build a new Discovery Center, with a café, commercial kitchen, visitor information services, interpretations, function rooms, staff offices, retail, educational facilities and amenities. The team responded specifically to two unique landscape contexts working with the landscape team at Tract Consulting. The proposal aims to stitch together the bushland uphill of the project and the contrasting European park landscape in front.
As the team states, the complex brief resulted in a building larger than any that would have historically been located on the railway line. The decision was therefore made to insert a new geometry and spatial experience different to the smaller old stations, but one that still depended on the relation between visitors and the platform for its organisational logic. The project brings together train enthusiasts and local park goers, creating a unique tourism amenity offering which collects the many users of the site in a single but complex building.
News via TERROIR