Located on the scenic drive along Tasmania’s East Coat, the new Devil’s Corner Cellar Door and Lookout sits within one of Tasmania’s largest vineyards, with a panoramic view over the Freycinet Peninsula. Reopened in December 2015, this project for Brown Brothers seeks to amplify the experience of this iconic view to create a new tourism experience on the East Coast of Tasmania.
Originally a small demountable building, the Cellar Door has been extended and expanded, paired with a lookout and complimentary food experiences, providing a backdrop for seasonal events. 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 traditional farm / rural settlement that gather over time.
The Cellar Door & food market have been collected around a courtyard space which allows shelter and respite from the surrounding environment, while allowing views through the tasting space to the Hazards beyond and access to open deck spaces. Through the careful placement of a series of timber clad shipping containers, visitors are invited to visually explore the landscape within and around the vineyard through curated framed views.
The lookout element is a critical component of the design, not only in providing a visual signifier for the settlement but also as a way of interpreting the landscape from which the Devil’s Corner wines originate. In the same way that an appreciation of wine can be gained through understanding its subtleties and varying ‘in-mouth’ sensations, there are many ways landscape can be appreciated. The lookout plays with this idea. The three distinct spaces reference different and unique views of the site – firstly the SKY, then the HORIZON and lastly the TOWER which winds its way upward providing views to each of the compass points before culminating in an elevated and expansive view of the bay.
By creating a dynamic scenic lookout and providing associated facilities, visitors are drawn to the new upgraded cellar door for the Devil’s Corner wine label.
Steel was an ideal material for the project as it allowed for a large amount of structure to be prefabricated off-site, providing timing and logistics advantages for the remote location. The underlying structure of the buildings and tower for the Devil’s Corner is made from repurposed and adapted shipping containers, chosen not only because of their easily transportable modular size, but also because of their structural integrity and steel's inherent flexibility and ability to be modified. A total of 10 containers have been used - 5 in the lookout and 5 in the market area.
The integral strength of the containers made them a perfect choice in the construction of the lookout in particular, enabling the structure of the building to be delivered to site and erected quickly. Each container has been modified in various ways - the cranked 'sky' lookout cut from two parts of a container and reassembled; the 'horizon' lookout which is able to bridge between land and the 'tower' despite one side being cut out; and the 'tower' lookout constructed from two containers end on end, inside of which a steel plate stair winds its way up past projecting landings on each side. These landings provide views over the landscape as the viewer moves up the tower; the black steel box frames fixed to the container and cantilevering over the vineyard.
Craned into position in parts, the lookout's structural integrity relies on all of the pieces locking in together. The design deliberately reverses the typical aesthetic treatment of steel. Rather than cladding the building in steel, it has been expressed internally, revealing the raw, industrial nature of the construction and hinting at the industrial underpinning of the production process. The external timber cladding (which acts as an visual screen only) plays on the rural / agricultural qualities of the site, with the internal steel skin being revealed in a consistent manner through the expression of each of the openings - the apertures in the lookout and opening to the cellar door.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 is 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 reference the distinct sensations experienced 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.
You also used low-cost shipping containers. How does Cumulus Studio use 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 - we wanted to test these limits to see if we could produce something interesting in a cost effective way.
Architects: Cumulus Studio (Peter Walker, Liz Walsh, Andrew Geeves, Fiona McMullen, Todd Henderson)
Structural Engineering: Aldanmark
Building Surveyor: Castellan Consulting
T ourism Consultant: Simon Currant
Hospitality Consultant: David Quon
Environmental:Red Sustainability Consultants
Builder: Anstie Constructions
August to December 2015