By Fiona Stocker.
One of the things architect Todd Henderson loves about Launceston is that it does seasons so well. Even in winter when the sun is low, it’s a ‘person-scaled city’, he says. ‘The buildings aren’t too tall, and when you walk in between them you can still find the sun on the street.’
Todd is a founding Director and Principal Architect of Cumulus Studio, which has offices in Launceston, Hobart and Melbourne. He and co-director Peter Walker have, between them, created some of Tasmania’s most newly iconic tourism projects – names like Pumphouse Point and the eye-catching Devil’s Corner Vineyard viewing tower – two transport containers stacked vertiginously on end and clad in timber.
Closer to home, Cumulus Studio has just transformed the upper levels of Ritchie’s Mill into the luxurious guest rooms now known as Stillwater Seven. Think timbered, dark, richly carpeted spaces suffused with what our Danish friends call ‘hygge’. The project, says Todd, made them think again about what a tourism offering is, and what people want when they’re spending time away from home. It’s not necessarily a huge picture window onto the views. In the heritage-listed mill, which is low on glass but redolent with atmosphere, it can be whisper-quiet hallways which draw guests back to sumptuous rooms and a feeling of being cocooned.
Architecture at Cumulus Studio is aspirational. The team spends a lot of time with clients finding out how they would really like to live and enshrining that in design which often reframes traditional thinking. The house in Queechy on a ‘super-windy site’ is a case in point, as a sensitive response to the landscape, and the client’s love of the rural aspect. One long hallway and a series of rooms wrap around an internal courtyard. Every room opens onto the central space which in summer is an extra living area, and in winter provides a light-giving, sheltered haven.
The design response is not something set in stone at the start of a project for the firm, but comes from analysis of the site and a long briefing process with the client. Architecture is not what you see in glossy magazines, says Todd, it’s more about how people live in their spaces, and the careful, artful combining of function with form.
‘We’re a design focused firm,’ he says. ‘We see that as the value in architecture. Anyone can draw a building, but what matters is how people experience it, both inside and out.’
Cumulus Studio creates outstanding spaces for living and working from their offices in Central Launceston. Find their details and other Launceston based architects at cityprom.com.au