2012 Melbourne Design Awards

Key Dates

Photo Credit : Mauro Pomponio Photograhy - www.mpphoto.com.au

Project Overview

The Box Hill train stations have a vivid and colorful history that has been the source of inspiration for the urban and unique bistro, "Platform 3". Box Hill's original station opened in 1882. During 1895, a large market opened next to the station. The early industrial feat and social market feel has been the starting point for the concept of Platform 3. It has adopted a design that celebrates and offers homage to the history of the area.

Platform 3 is situated right in the heart of the century old Box Hill Centro Shopping Center. Conceived as an elusive waiting lounge, sitting above the railway station, the new ‘platform’ offers a room for transit for the commuters. It is a unique place that is more than just a bistro but a place that locals can relate to and feel being a part of.

The success of this project was based on the place-making approach to design and looked beyond the brief. The idea of materialism was challenged with the strong use of industrial and hard wearing materials to reflect the history of the area whilst being set in a shopping center environment.

Project Commissioner

Sailteam Pty Ltd

Project Creator

rptecture architects


Shop fitter: Crown Shop fitter
Structural engineer: Kai Hon
Building surveyor: Steve Maloney from AABP
rptecture: Andy Yu, David Fung, Ruth Tjitra, Rachel Moon and Sandra Siew

Project Brief

The personality of the brand, "Platform 3" started with the logo design and naming of the restaurant. The name of the bistro is fitting given its surroundings. Platform 3 is situated above the train station and within Box Hill Centro Shopping Center food court. The client sought to offer a western style, casual dining place in response to the lack of variety in the area.

The client's brief was to create a bistro different from what the area was offering and to serve as a meeting place that is vibrant and welcoming. The boundaries between the public and private domains were challenged resulting in an enriched design outcome. The characteristics of sharing space and the notion of being in a congested railway station has been brought to the dinner experience. The unusual seating arrangement of four long, communal benches was designed to encourage people to share tables. The intension of this design was to create a "market feel" and reinforces the casual dining theme. This also maximized the seating capacity. The idea of a group of patrons sharing the same dinner table is to resemble the shared seating space inside the train cabin.

Project Need

A unique feature of Platform 3 is the open wall concept along the shop front facing the mall. The external wall facing the walk way of the mall has been reduced from the typical full height glass to a mere row of old, recycled railway sleeper panels. These sleepers are sitting on top of the half height recycled brick wall. This feature wall mirrors the rustic feel of the original railways whilst allowing the ambience, noise and smell of the place to be permeated throughout the shopping center. Often the interested shoppers peek through the gaps. It also allows conversation between the bistro customers and their friends who walk pass when they are being spotted.

The scale of the space was manipulated to achieve the desired spatial experience. The existing stature of the ceiling was maximized by removing the false ceiling panels. An increase in height gives an unequal spatial experience, similar to an industrial scale of space which keeps diners interested. The bones of the original building were exposed to achieve a height of 5.2 meters, providing the framework of the new space below.

In contrast to the large scale features, smaller details have been strategically placed within the space to further the train concept. Eye catching details bring the design to life, such as the yellow tactile randomly placed along the timber benches. The lighting of the space is dimly lit with specially designed pendants to create a train like atmosphere.

Design Challenge

Due to the unusual three frontage site, the design challenge was to treat each facade with different approaches, yet still retain a consistency throughout the shop fronts. Although this was a challenge, the site constraint also served as an opportunity to utilize the atypical multi-faceted area. The feature wall utilizing recycled sleepers took advantage of the site constraint, by allowing an open walled design.

The design is a celebration of the rawness and sustainability of materials. Old railway hardwood timber, recycled messmate timber and recycled warehouse bricks were implemented throughout the design and assisted in reaching the construction budget of $380,000.00.

Dissimilar to the large expanse at the front of house, the kitchen area was confided to a small portion of the site. Given this constraint, the design of the kitchen was directed to cater for swift food producing and smart storage solutions. As a bistro located in the heart of the busy Box Hill Centro Shopping Center, the kitchen layout had to be smartly designed to allow maximum efficiency. This was achieved by approaching the configuration of the kitchen with the constraints in mind.


The use of sustainable materials has been well considered in this project. Sustainable materials such as old railway hardwood timber used in the feature wall, recycled messmate timber for tables and recycled warehouse bricks for wall cladding have been applied throughout the site. The sleepers were sourced throughout northern Victoria, southern NSW and Queensland. By using the original structure, including the ceiling and slab, reduced any additional costs and materials. A very simple robust use of raw materials is employed throughout the project to minimize the use of new materials.
The choice of materials was with strict consideration to durability, sustainability, recyclable properties and environmental friendliness. Materials the shop fitter sourced were from companies that have environmental policies implemented wherever possible. For the timber company, certification schemes and forest product purchasing programs must be in place. The materials purchased are from sustainable resources that are from well managed forests which provide significant and measureable environmental and economic benefits to communities.

Other materials used are melamine particleboard, used extensively for all cabinets and carcasses. It has been tested extensively to the Australian and European Union Standards. The material has the material safety data sheet which outlines all safety and handling information. Stainless steel was also used and requires little maintenance, meaning fewer chemicals being deposited down the drain. This has made this product an eco-friendly product. It is 100% recyclable. It has a long life span and thus, it has a low total life cost.

This award recognises building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation. Consideration given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.  

Judging Note : Judging for this category will be finalised on Monday 27th August and Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 28th August.

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