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Cumulus at 10, Our Story So Far

7 Dec 2021

Cumulus was born in Tasmania in 2011. Four people. Two lounge rooms as makeshift offices.
One residential project. Now, our studio has more than 40 dedicated architects, designers, and administrative team members working across our Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, and Adelaide offices.

But our idea for Cumulus has always remained the same: being a studio that produces considered, high-quality architecture within a respectful, collaborative work environment. We approach every design with a fresh perspective and we know that good ideas can come from anywhere — our team, our clients, our community.

“Celebrating ten years is an incredible milestone, especially because Cumulus was founded as the global financial crisis was starting to hit Tasmania,” explains Director Kylee Scott, who founded Cumulus alongside Todd Henderson, Jenn Heggarty, and Peter Walker.

“I am proud of the beautiful designs we’ve produced over the last 10 years, but I am most proud of our amazing team and emerging leaders within our studio. The care and support they offer each other and the company has been truly inspirational.”

Each of our designs over the past decade reflect the distinct nature of our team and the collaborative centre of our practice. From the light-filled rooms of some of our residential projects, such as 15/Love House, to the adaptive reuse of significant heritage buildings like Pumphouse Point, and the aspirations of our public projects like the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre — one of our largest projects to date.

“Cradle Mountain was a significant project for Cumulus,” explains Director Peter Walker. “Because of its sensitive location within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, we knew that it would be a huge stepping stone for us as it was going to be experienced and enjoyed by thousands of people.”

Despite many of our high-profile projects, we haven’t lost sight of the more subtle designs that push us to create spaces that promote new narratives. Goulburn Street Housing is one of those. For us, it’s a project that subverts the stereotype of public housing, a considered and spacious design that places people’s experience at the centre of the idea — how they feel, interact, and connect with the space.

“Goulburn Street was Cumulus’ first public housing project. We took the opportunity to reflect on how it could challenge the status quo and contribute to this sector while being a relatively modest project,” says Cumulus Director Keith Westbrook. “It’s respectful of its surroundings, one that is not designed to stand out above the local streetscape.”

In 2015 we crossed the Bass Strait and opened our office in Melbourne and, in mid 2020, Adelaide — resulting in projects like Protagonist and Ponderosa’s accommodation pods. But it is the different perspectives of our new team members that have continued to push our studio’s boundaries, systems, and design.

“The team’s growth over the past few years has undoubtedly brought a new set of skills, perspectives, and priorities to Cumulus,” says Director Todd Henderson. “It has fostered conversations on everything from our continued collaboration with local Aboriginal voices to refining our choices for environmentally and socially sustainable designs.”

As our team and projects continue to evolve, we remain a studio where creativity is encouraged and celebrated, where all staff have a licence to be creative and share their ideas openly.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most over the years is seeing a good design idea that’s come organically from the team. You need to have a sense that great design ideas can come from anywhere, and it’s an approach that we continue to take with our clients and community” Peter adds.

As we look to the immediate future, Cumulus will continue refining our ideas on sustainable design, create spaces that challenge preconceived notions, and increase our involvement in diverse sectors such as social housing.

“While we continue to diversify in the type of work we do, I would like to maintain our design-focussed attitude, to find the opportunities to challenge the role of architecture,” says Keith.

“We want to make sure we are at a level of creating good architecture, projects that encapsulate our values. We don’t want to lose sight of that,” Todd adds.

Cumulus would like to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey, all of the clients, contractors, collaborators and our entire team, past and present. We look forward to the next 10!

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