Cumulus and SBLA Studio-designed business incubator receives $7.5 million in construction funding boost

Not For Profit organisation FermenTasmania has received $7.5 million in federal funding to build a world-first Fermentation Hub in northern Tasmania, a project designed in collaboration with Cumulus and SLBA Studio.

Part production facility, part laboratory, part agri-tourism drawcard, the 1,800 square meter building located 10 km northwest of Launceston will support local fermentation start-ups — producing anything from cheese to alcoholic beverages — by providing low-cost access to specialised equipment, research, and education.

“Our collaboration with FermenTas has been essential to solving the complexities of the space, which needed to house highly prescribed production processes while still providing an accessible and engaging public face,” explains Cumulus Associate and Architect, Jet O’Rourke. 

 

The result is a functional and flexible design that celebrates the facility’s unique processes.

The public areas immerse visitors in the function of the building with visible fermentation vessels, equipment pipes, and production zones. The facade has been playfully lifted on the corners of the building to give passers by a glimpse into the inner workings of the hub.

The roof, which follows the alternating contours of the facade, creates a second level housing specialised plant equipment necessary for the different fermentation processes.

“As the site lies along the West Tamar Highway, we had to consider a design that would invite curiosity from people driving by. The shifting facade lifts the veil on the traditional ’big shed’ structure, opening the space and connecting the interior to the landscape, which was designed in collaboration with SBLA Studio,” Jet added. 

Viewed from the highway, the landscape design draws visitors in with a playful use of sculptural planting that references moulds, yeast cultures and bacteria, as if viewed under a microscope. Before entering the space, visitors will walk among plantings that look like champagne bubbles, paving patterns that represent bacterias on an agar plate, and productive garden areas where they can source native and exotic plants to feed into the fermentation production process inside.

“We worked closely with FermenTas and botanist Pippa French, who will continue to collaborate with us on how the landscape can celebrate the wonder that is occurring within the building,” explains SBLA Studio Creative Director, Simone Bliss.

Construction of the facility will begin this year with completion scheduled for 2022.

About Cumulus 

Established in 2011, we are an architecture and interior design studio that creates unique residential, tourism, commercial, and social housing spaces. 

With teams located around Australia, Cumulus works as a single entity, giving our studio the flexibility and capacity to take on small, medium and large-scale projects.

Our studio is led by Peter Walker, Todd Henderson, Kylee Scott, and Keith Westbrook.

About SBLA Studio

Located in Launceston and Melbourne, SBLA is a landscape architecture, urban design and masterplanning studio.

SBLA has a diverse range of projects including public parks, landscape rehabilitation, educational precincts, agri-tourism, housing, streetscapes, and playful sculptures.