Terroir’s new visitor centre for Victoria’s Puffing Billy Railway is a $20 million project designed to focus on “creating a visitor experience anchored within the authentic sights, smells and sounds of the railway.”

The iconic tourist destination located 40km east of Melbourne, is a scenic destination for many, with the importance of its new design focused on the decision of its more practical Discovery Centre, rather than a “novel” visitor centre.

The Discovery Centre will consist of a café, commercial kitchen, visitor information services, interpretations, function rooms, staff offices, retail, education facilities and amenities.

“The complex brief resulted in a building larger than any that would have historically been located on the railway line,” according to Terroir.

“[Inserting] a new geometry and spatial experience different to the smaller, old stations, the relation between visitors and the platform is a focus for its organisational logic.”

Additionally, the two unique landscape contexts resulted in Terroir’s close work with Tract Consultants, stitching together the bushland uphill of the project and the European park landscape contrasting.

Terroir were one in five firms to compete in a design competition for the railway centre and won in late 2018.

“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.”