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This Architecture Firm Turned a Power Plant into a Stylish Boutique Hotel in the Wilderness

This brand new boutique hotel is truly one of a kind. Deep in the Tasmanian wilderness, in a zone recognized as a World Heritage site, an old hydroelectric pumphouse lives a new life as a boutique retreat. It is a marvel of restorative architecture by Cumulus Studio, one that has transformed a decaying industrial site into a stylish modern hotel. The Pumphouse Point Wilderness Retreat stands at the end of a long concrete pier in the middle of Lake St. Clair, a preserved forest in the heart of the Tasmanian island. It is a one-of-a-kind escape, surrounded by water on all sides and located miles from civilization.

As the industrial revolution falls further into our collective rear view, there are many architectural relics like this that are begging to be given a new life.

What a way to spend a weekend.

The Pumphouse Point Wilderness Retreat is a two building complex — the pumphouse and a shorehouse — connected by a long concrete pier. The structures were originally raised in the 1940s as a hydroelectric plant. For the last few decades, the buildings unused and in major disrepair. These old art deco concrete structures maintained their original charm, but they were either to be demolished or save for some other purpose.

Then Cumulus Studio came along, recognized the buildings for the charm they presented and worked with the clients to restore the interior. The pumphouse was gutted of its original hardware, and the maintenance facilities in the shorehouse were also converted. Together, these two structures now house 18 studio-sized hotel rooms plus common areas, a dining hall and a kitchen. The new Pumphouse Point hotel now offers a stylish boutique experience in a space that might have been demolished if it wasn’t for this kind of creative vision.

Both the architect and the client should be celebrated for this work. As the industrial revolution falls further into our collective rear view, there are many architectural relics like this that are begging to be given a new life. As a society, we’re too quick to grab the sledgehammer and far too slow to consider the unique opportunities that these buildings offer. My hat goes off to Cumulus Studio, and I hope this lesson inspires others elsewhere.

  • Rooms at Pumphouse Point are available from $240 in the Shorehouse, $320 in the Pumphouse ($AUD)
  • Activities are focused on the surrounding nature, but relaxing in the hotel’s facilities is encouraged
  • Cumulus Studio’s project leads were Chris Roberts, Liz Walsh, Peter Walker and Todd Henderson.

Pumphouse Point Wilderness Retreat by Cumulus Studio 9 600x399 This Architecture Firm Turned a Power Plant into a Stylish Boutique Hotel in the Wilderness

Pumphouse Point Wilderness Retreat by Cumulus Studio 11 600x399 This Architecture Firm Turned a Power Plant into a Stylish Boutique Hotel in the Wilderness

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Pumphouse Point Wilderness Retreat by Cumulus Studio 13

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Pumphouse Point Wilderness Retreat by Cumulus Studio | Gallery

[photography by Stuart Gibson, Adam Gibson and Sharyn Cairns]

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