Victorian Tunnelling Centre
The Victorian Tunnelling Centre is an Australian-first as it is the only facility of its kind where students can train within replica mined and bored tunnels on the same site.
Situated at Holmesglen‘s Drummond Street Campus, the new facility provides a state-of-the-art learning environment for people to be trained in underground construction and tunnelling, and develop the specialised skills required for critical city-shaping projects, such as Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel, West Gate Tunnel, North East Link and Suburban Rail Loop.
Designed to simulate real-life scenarios, the centre includes an exact replica rail tunnel with segments identical to those used on the Metro Tunnel, as well as a mined tunnel to present students with general underground tunnel conditions. To support this experience-based learning there are two multi-purpose engineering workrooms, mixed reality experiences, and outdoor demonstration spaces.
To help invigorate the recruitment and retention of workers in the tunnelling industry the design approach seeks to rebrand it for the 21st century, providing a sophisticated workshop that elevates the trade through the considered application of materials and scale.
Lined with curved anodised aluminium panels, the tunnel section that forms the entrance to the building defines the arrival space and heralds the significance of the centre’s learning offer and visitor engagement. The large, open, column-free interior allows the centre to efficiently adapt to evolutions in the tunnelling industry and in education and teaching practices. The façade design provides a simple, cost-effective solution which uses insulated and translucent panel systems for fast construction and optimal building performance.
Working closely with the client, the Grimshaw team evolved the brief and design response to deliver - on time and within budget - a rational, sophisticated and highly functional building that celebrates the highly skilled workforce that is set to significantly shape Melbourne and Victoria.