Puffing Billy

TypeLakeside Discovery CentreLocationEmerald, VictoriaClientEmerald Tourist Railway BoardYear2017StatusCompetitionArchitectCumulus Studio | OculusImagesCumulus Studio | Oculus


Our approach to the proposed Lakeside Discovery Centre was informed by the classic image of the Puffing Billy, curving along the Monbulk Creek, billowing smoke through the tops of green gums.

The structure was designed as a continuous ring, creating unique views of the building, site and the passing trains from within.

Visitors enter from various points of the building through a series of sheltered yet open courtyard spaces that facilitate gathering, exhibition and dwelling in the fresh country air.

The interior highlights one of many retained trees within the courtyard, while drawing in the eerie mist and fog that defines the surrounding foothills.

With materials consisting primarily of concrete, textured paving and raw metals, the Discovery Centre reflects the honest construction of old locomotives, and complements the rich tones of the Australian bush.