To give tourists a better appreciation of the region’s sprawling vineyards, a new observation tower has been built along the Tasmanian east coast.
Called Devil’s Corner Cellar Door and Lookout, the structure is a collaboration between architecture firm Cumulus Studio and Australian winemaker Brown Brothers.
It consists of timber-clad shipping containers forming two areas, the lookout tower and the wine-tasting space. The tower, which is set on a hill overlooking the surrounding scenery, features three specific views of the site: the sky, the horizon, and the bay.
Much like sipping vino and appreciating its different flavours, these three curated viewpoints allow the viewers to appreciate the landscape’s various forms.
The courtyard, meanwhile, allows visitors to rest and eat. Food choices include oven-baked pizza and freshly shucked oysters from the Freycinet Marine Farm.
We recently talked to Cumulus Studio director Peter Walker to find out more about the project.
What was the inspiration for the Devil’s Corner Cellar Door and Lookout?
“The lookout and cellar door developed out of a desire to create an iconic stopover on what is a popular tourist driving route along the coast of Tasmania. The tower was envisaged as not only a prominent signpost for the project that would attract visitors into the site, but also as a unique tourism experience that people would share.”
Since you were designing for a wine company, did wine culture play any role during the creative process?
“It was important to us that the cellar door component of the project felt like it was sitting in the vineyard and connected to the place from which its wines originate. Views to and from the cellar door reinforce this connection, as does the timber nature of the building which alludes to similar agricultural buildings.
“Furthermore, the distinct elements of the lookout SKY, HORIZON and the four cardinal points of the TOWER provide a variety of ways in which the landscape can be experienced, and references the distinct ‘in-mouth’ sensations experience of wine tasting.”
You purposely focused the viewing areas into three curated ‘frames’ to give the viewer a unique lookout experience. The first one lets them see the sky, the second the horizon, and the third the bay. How did this concept come about?
“When tasting wine, we are encouraged to be aware of various aspects of the wine and associated taste sensations. By providing a variety of distinct, unique ways in which visitors to the site can experience and understand the surrounding landscape we intended to subtly reference the experience of wine tasting.”
Tell us more about the aesthetics behind this beautiful project.
“The cellar door and lookout were designed as a loose collection of timber-clad buildings that, through similar aesthetic and material treatment, form a modern interpretation of a traditional farm or rural settlement that gathers over time. The use of shipping containers dictated the form of the buildings, while the timber cladding references agricultural structures.”
How does Cumulus Studio use low-cost shipping container architecture when coming up with designs?
“The idea to use shipping containers came from the practicalities of dealing with a remote site, in that it allowed a large part of the project to be prefabricated, transported and then assembled on site. The containers are inherently structurally stable and can be easily adapted and transported.
“As long as you can work with the module of the container, they are a very economical way to produce a structure, such as the lookout – we wanted to test these limits to see if we could produce something interesting in a cost-effective way.”
Lastly, how do you hope Devil’s Corner Cellar Door and Lookout will change tourism in Tasmania?
“We see the lookout as being part of a strategy to encourage visitors to Tasmania to explore outside of the capital city and experience other aspects of the state. The nature of the cellar door and lookout invites visitors to not only experience the landscape of the region, but also to sample produce that local makers have to offer.”