Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre

Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre

Architect
Cumulus Studio
Location
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, Australia | View Map
Project Year
2020
Category
Cultural Centres
Anjie Blair
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
LiftsKone
Kone K3000 E MonoSpace
External Mesh ScreenLocker Group
Profile: Eclipse 600
External Timber claddingMortlock Timber
Trendplank Timber Cladding
Laminate - Laminex, Natural FinishLAMINEX
External Timber cladding - Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus Sieberi)Mckay Timber
Carpet - Ontera Patina VibesR.A Jones

Product Spec Sheet
Lifts
Kone K3000 E MonoSpace by Kone
External Mesh Screen
Profile: Eclipse 600 by Locker Group
External Timber cladding
Trendplank Timber Cladding by Mortlock Timber
Laminate - Laminex, Natural Finish
by LAMINEX
External Timber cladding - Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus Sieberi)
Carpet - Ontera Patina Vibes

Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre

Cumulus Studio as Architects

Sharp geometric forms beckon to a honeyed cave
Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre is a building of contrasts. It’s imposing but harmonious. It’s an abstract interpretation of nature. And it’s modern with a rightness unrooted in time. Most surprising of all, perhaps, is how the raw exterior unwinds into a warm, soft, delicate timber lining.

With wild rainforests, rolling grasslands and roaming Tassie Devils, it's no surprise Cradle Mountain entices a surging number of visitors. But how can you design a meaningful visitor experience in a footprint never intended to accommodate that number of guests? The Visitor Centre is the first development in a major plan to reimagine the iconic Cradle Mountain experience.

The Visitor Centre offers a warm alpine welcome to reflect both the sense of rugged-up anticipation on arrival and the distinctive Cradle Mountain geology. The sculptural, wilderness-inspired development includes an orientation building, commercial services base, shuttle bus shelter and coach transit centre. At every turn, we aimed to honour the significance and sensitivity of this world-renowned national park.

 

Materials to mirror nature
We designed the buildings to feel grounded, as if carved from a solid rock by a glacier. The umbrella rain-screen form references the folding angular geology of the site, inviting visitors into the cave-like timber interior.

The choice of timber for the interior was about the poetics and qualities of the place. Because timber is natural, guests feel connected to nature. It often evokes a response other materials don’t.

 

Measured tourists footprints
The design required an in-depth understanding of visitor movements across the site. It needed to accommodate the wide gap between peak and average visitor numbers and feel inviting in both cases. 

Our intuitive way-finding strategy creates a flow to subtly guide visitors while they interact with site interpretation and visitor information. We used a hierarchy of space that organises services but lets the staggering natural setting sing out. 

 

No mountain high enough
The Visitor Centre design went through many iterations as more stakeholders saw the project’s potential. But we’re proud the essence and guiding goals remained constant throughout, even as other aspects shifted around them. It’s quite a feeling to walk inside the sculpted interior timber cave, a completely unexpected gem inside the building. Whilst the triangulated timber volume’s complex geometry proved a technical challenge, it’s all the more satisfying to admire it now knowing the hard work involved.

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