A Timber Tardis – Midway Point House by Cumulus Studio
Hobart, TAS, Australia
Midway Point House combines a play on scale with clever and strategic planning. Operating from a considered approach to site, Cumulus Studio proposes a home of appropriate program and reclusiveness.
Located in Hobart, overlooking the Pitt Water and Kunanyi and Mount Wellington in the distance, Midway Point House takes cues from cult television icon Doctor Who’s Tardis to create a proposal that challenges the ordinary. As it sits cliff-top overlooking its adjacent views and natural aspects, the aim was for a home that felt small, tightly held together as a place of retreat for its owners, but also one that adhered to a full residential program and brief. Just like Tardis that was a small telephone booth from the outside but contained a much larger space internally, the form takes on a small exterior physical appearance that houses surprising scale and functionality internally.
Built by Adam Johnson Building, with Joinery by WD Bryan Joinery House, Midway Point House is a true combination of a considered and integrated approach. Working within the tightly defined site envelope, as dictated by the title, the home unfolds as a puzzle of sorts, bringing together all its parts in a tightly woven and expertly crafted whole. Primary to these core design outcomes is the proposal of a home that provides a sense of privacy from the streetscape, allowing the owners to feel protected from the elements. Within these constraints, the home is designed to capture the natural warmth of solar gains, opening to the northern side in a welcoming way, while the deliberately closed western side minimises overheating and glare.
Operating from a considered approach to site, Cumulus Studio proposes a home of appropriate program and reclusiveness.
The home is divided into split levels, with double-height internal spaces increasing the sense of space within. The placement of openings is both strategic for the functioning of the building and its response to climatic conditions, and also creates curated apertures to the natural landscape beyond. Although predominantly clad in timber, the placement and use of translucent polycarbonate sheeting introduces a new language both externally and internally. Offering dappled light into the north-facing living areas, the sheeting provides natural illumination and a combined sense of privacy while still responding to the site. To the west, the glazing is kept to a higher level, controlling the potential heat gain.
Midway Point House is a true combination of a considered and integrated approach.
Midway Point House speaks to a considered and site-specific approach. Although designed and built under tight constraints, the resulting form does not convey these challenges, offering a home that is compact yet uncompromised. Combining Cumulus Studio’s sensibilities to materiality and an appropriateness to the residential vernacular, a calming, considered and compact form unfolds that generously embraces its site and enviable outlooks.