Waterfront: Penguin Terroir Tour

Phillip Island’s iconic Penguin Parade is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, with over 700,000 visitors annually coming to see the Little Penguins clamber ashore in a spectacular but sensitive landscape. But did you know the island’s Summerland Peninsula was once a residential development with over 180 houses? If this development stayed in place, the impact on the penguin population would have resulted in their complete eradication by the late 1990’s. Lucky for us, and the Little Penguins, the Victorian Government commenced a buyback program in 1985 – a world first where people have moved out for a single species – and was completed by 2010. The new Penguin Parade Visitor Centre by TERROIR opened its doors in 2019 and celebrates the extraordinary outcome of state government intervention for the protection of coastal wildlife and habitat.

The internationally awarded 4,800m2 building sits at the nexus between 3 landscapes: dunes, headland and wetland, linking these landscapes like a brooch that gathers these together and responds to each in specific ways – formally and experientially. The power of the three landscapes is acknowledged in the homogenous zinc cladding to the building that provides a constant against which the three landscapes are registered.

TERROIR’s Scott Balmforth is delighted to host guided tours and discuss the background and development of this significant project.



Scott is a founding Director and Principal of TERROIR. The practice was established in Hobart and Sydney simultaneously in 1999 by Tasmanian born Directors. In 2010 the practice expanded internationally with TERROIR ApS in Copenhagen (Denmark). With over 20 years’ experience in the architecture and urban design, Scott has led a range of award winning and internationally published residential, commercial and public projects.


Presented by Open House Melbourne, Terroir Architects and Phillip Island Nature Parks for Waterfront – part of Melbourne Design Week 2020, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV. 

Image credit:
1. TERROIR Architecture, photo by John Gollings
2+3. TERROIR Architecture, photos by Peter Bennetts

Contributor Link

Important Details


Penguin Parade Visitor Centre, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Victoria 3922

Time & Date

Saturday 14 March 2020

FREE, bookings essential

Access Requirements: Wheelchair accessible, Pram accessible

Booking Info

Stay in the loop