Cumulus Studio

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Architecture Firm Name: Cumulus Studio

Website: cumulus.studio/

Firm Location: Australia

(“Text as submitted by architect”)

Todd Henderson
B.ENV DES, B.ARCH (Hons), Registered Architect TASDirector & Principal Architect, Launceston Studio

He started with skate ramps, hand-sewn clothing and share house furniture. But the art of making still drives co-founder Todd’s practice today. Todd is practical and inquisitive. He understands how things work and why they exist. This draws him away from design for the sake of design, in favour of buildability and performance. A well-recognised architect in both the Tasmanian and broader community, Todd has worked on notable projects across residential, commercial, education and hospitality. He was the inaugural winner of the Tasmanian Emerging Architect prize, the Property Council of Australia Future Leader award and is a Graduate of the Tasmanian Leaders Program. Todd’s practice interprets modernism, with its strict geometry and lack of ornament, in a functional, natural world context. He’s committed to the use of honest, local materials. In particular he finds timber offers warmth and connection to local culture. And in general, he believes there’s a reason why traditional building materials like brick, timber and steel endure over new materials on the market. A mentor to many and a friend to more, Todd is often looked to for guidance, support and advice. He knows how to communicate an idea and he gets things done.

Peter Walker
B.ENV DES, B.ARCH (Hons), Registered Architect TASDirector & Principal Architect, Hobart Studio

Peter uses design to better understand the world around him. Insatiably curious, he sees each project as a chance to dive into something new, be it place, culture, material or experience. For Peter, architecture is best practiced with a light-hearted, playful and open mindset. He believes architecture is as much art and poetics as it is engineering or construction and is inspired to create spaces that evoke an emotional response. Peter has always been interested in philosophy, and felt drawn to create spaces that communicate, reinforce and support values – whether they be those of a person, business or culture. Awarded nationally and internationally for his high profile tourism project portfolio, Peter’s work  includes transforming sensitive heritage sites like Pumphouse Point and The Apple Shed as well as new projects such as Saffire or Devil’s Corner.  His work always has a clear, central idea which informs each design and construction decision. Peter is a past winner of the Timber Design Association’s Timber Awards, the Tasmanian Emerging Architect Prize and a graduate of the RAIA/Dulux Study Tour program for Emerging Architects. He does his best work late at night with room to think, fuelled by challenges, feedback and others’ ideas earlier in the day. And with the promise of a good single malt close to hand.

Kylee Scott
B.ENV DES, B.ARCH (Hons), Registered Architect TASDirector & Studio Manager, Hobart Studio

An intricate map of Tasmanian family history drew Kylee to architecture. She felt captivated by places significant to her ancestors, from Great Depression era warehouses, to old family pubs, to mysterious homesteads linked to antique heirlooms. Each building’s story strengthened her connection to place and informed her sense of self from a very early age. Kylee has practised as a registered architect and heritage consultant extensively across Tasmania. Ever since her studies, cemeteries have long fascinated Kylee for the way storytelling, landscape and emotion are inextricably intertwined. Moving forward, she’s particularly interested in medium density social housing designed to enhance daily life. Where quality outdoor space, community connection, self sustainability and minimal environmental impact take priority. As a future-thinker, Kylee’s approach favours responsive, contextual architecture that connects to landscape at both the macro and micro scale. She emphasises environmental impact with the team, and can often be found reminding them to avoid cutting tree roots on site. By advocating for the use of indigenous plants, Kylee aims to support native wildlife and reconnect fragmented local ecosystems. And she’ll always fight to protect large trees that offer shade to more than the site’s users alone. Kylee is a person who’s interested in everything. She thinks of this as a blessing, for brainstorming ‘big picture’ puzzle solving, and a curse for always shifting focus to the next problem. This self-awareness means she’s adept at assembling a team around her who complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses. In fact, Kylee loves connecting people and ideas. One successful example of which was bringing Cumulus co-founders Todd and Pete together. The rest, as they say, is history.

Keith Westbrook
B.ENV DES, M.ARCH (Hons), Registered Architect VIC & TASDirector & Principal Architect, Melbourne Studio

A Tasmanian salmon farm might sound like an unlikely source of architectural inspiration. But for Keith, his father’s workplace had a pragmatic, raw aesthetic and an inventive approach to problem solving that intrigued him. It fostered a curiosity for design and building in him from a very early age, and inspired him to create detailed technical drawings well before starting his first degree. The salmon farm’s principles of honesty and simplicity still influence his work today. Keith joined Peter, Todd and Kylee as a Cumulus Studio Director in 2015 and now runs Cumulus Studio’s Melbourne office. His practice has mainly focussed on bespoke architectural projects in the public and institutional sectors. At Architectus, Keith was the project architect for the multi-award winning Loreto Mandeville Centre. Keith is an active member of the profession and has been a Victorian Architecture Awards juror and guest final year reviewer for Monash University. Brave but informed, Keith will try anything once, both in life and his designs. It’s Keith’s firm belief that you need a healthy level of risk to avoid repeating what architects have done for centuries. He’s also a big believer in quality over quantity and conceptually driven architecture, when projects have a clear line of design thinking. Keith enjoys experiencing the outdoors on hikes and runs. Every so often, he mountain bikes and snowboards to let his inner thrill-seeker out too. For Keith, finding time to switch off creates time to reflect. And he’s often found focussing his attention elsewhere is when the best ideas come to mind.

Practice Ideology

Cumulus Studio is an award winning architecture and interior design practice with offices in Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne and Adelaide. The three offices operate as one combined studio, providing flexibility in the size and scope of work undertaken and ensuring a cohesive and collaborative approach to all projects. The studio consists of 21 designers, including 14 registered architects, and specialises in tourism, residential, commercial, heritage, urban design and interior architecture. Cumulus also regularly collaborates with a number of external specialist consultants from across Australia for the co-ordination of a broader range of services from feasibility studies and brand management through to contract administration and post occupancy evaluation. Cumulus Studio formed out of a desire to investigate ideas collaboratively and an understanding that great ideas are developed through sharing and workshopping with others. From the Latin word for ‘heap’ or ‘pile’, Cumulus believe that through working together a critical mass of ideas can be accumulated quickly – forming idea clouds. These ideas can take on any size or form and be manipulated to suit conditions. Collaboration is more often discussed than it is practised. It is our experience that, like a good conversation or delicious recipe, the result of mixing good ingredients is often greater than any one of the individual components. Through workshopping and discussions we are able to generate shared inputs on aspects of budget, program, site, the environment, marketing & brand advice, specialist information, feasibility, people, financial return, user requirements and time-frame. During this process Cumulus also examines how to value add to the project by interrogating the brief, analysing precedents and looking for efficiencies and value for money. All of these ingredients are then refined into a design while strategically working through issues with the client and relevant stake-holders.

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