The iconic Puffing Billy Railway is a much-loved tourist attraction located within the Dandenong Ranges, 40 kilometres east of Melbourne. Emerald Lake Park is a scenic destination for many, centrally located on the railway. The importance of this stop on the railway was recognised with the decision to build a new Discovery Centre consisting of a café, commercial kitchen, visitor information services, interpretations, function rooms, staff offices, retail, educational facilities and amenities. 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.
The complex brief resulted in a building larger than would have historically been located on the railway line. The decision was made to design a new spatial experience and a unique geometry that is distinct from the old train stations, but one that depended on the relationship between visitors and the train platform for its organisational logic.