Willie Smith’s

TypeCider House, Tasting Bar & CafeLocationGrove, TasmaniaClientWillie Smith'sYear2013StatusCompletedArchitectCumulus StudioImagesJonathan WherrettLinkwilliesmiths.com.auQuote"There was certainly some skepticism from friends and family that we could make a run down, unloved and cluttered shed (that seemed like a junk shop) into a new cellar door for our cider. Cumulus immediately identified the opportunity to highlight the building as the number one artifact in the museum. They devised a plan that was sensitive to the building yet provided enough change to really make the visitor experience a truly amazing one. With the initial vision being a small café and tasting bar, we have been blown away by the number of people who have wanted to come down and how quickly the client base has organically grown! I am constantly told what an amazing, unique space The Apple Shed is and what a great feel it has about it, that makes people want to return again and again. By exposing all of the old parts of the shed and by reusing much of what was in the museum, The Apple Shed is a social media gold mine with people constantly sharing the cool images they have captured. After 6 months we are already starting to expand our operation." - Sam Reid, Managing Director, Willie Smith’s Organic Cider

Tasmania’s reputation as the apple isle comes not from its shape but its international status as a key grower of apples throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Although the industry is now a shadow of its former self, a recent increased demand for organic produce has driven an international resurgence for products from the nutrient rich soils of the geographically isolated growing region. Paired with this has been a boom in micro brewing with cider emerging as the fastest growing alcoholic beverage within the Australian market.

The hotspot for apple farming in Tasmania is the Huon Valley, located 35 minutes south of Hobart, with over eighty percent of produce grown in the region. It is here that 4th generation apple orchardists William Smith and Sons have paired with Cumulus Studio to capitalise on the perfect growing and market conditions to create a unique tourist venture.

The project involved the conversion of an old timber apple packing shed into the home of Willie Smith’s Cider. ‘The Apple Shed’ as it is now known, was envisaged not only as a cider house & tasting bar, but also to be an expression of the revitalisation of the Huon Valley and a rediscovery of the valley’s apple heritage.

Working in conjunction with Futago and Willie Smith Cider, all of the previous memorabilia, pieces of equipment, displays and products were sorted and catalogued and an interpretation story was developed. This was then presented in an informal interpretation that revolves around the new tasting bar.

Through some simple architectural interventions – removing all of the internal walls and clutter that had built up over the years, introducing natural light, refurbishing the industrial sliding doors and inserting a new bar / kitchen – the original Apple Museum has been transformed into a timber shed again which has become an active social hub for the local community.

“Although the project started as an investigation into how Architecture could enhance our client’s brand, for us it became as much about the social sustainably of the project and the relationships formed both between us and the client and the client and the wider community. In this sense the job of the ‘Architecture’ was to create an appropriate setting for these relationships to take place that was rooted in the historical and cultural context of the place.”

– Peter Walker, architect

The project won the 2014 Tasmanian Architecture Awards: Award for Commercial Architecture and a Commendation for Sustainable Architecture.

Willie Smith’s was also shortlisted as a finalist in the 2014 Timber Design Awards, and received a High Commendation for Best Retail Design at the 2014 Eat Drink Design Awards.