You Can Sleep in the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

In 1995, the hydroelectric power plant on the shores of this Tasmanian lake went dark for the final time. It’s remained silent for 20 years since — until this year, when it re-opened with a radically different business model: A hotel.

Lead image: Stuart Gibson.

It turns out that hydroelectric power has a long legacy in Tasmania: back in the 1930s, the government invested heavily in building the infrastructure to supply power using a series of dams, reservoirs, and hydroelectric power stations, like the one that used to sit inside these two buildings on Lake St. Clair, a protected wilderness area in the heart of Tasmania. The building at the end of a 800-foot-dock once housed the turbines, while a house on the shore was used to run it.

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

After the enormous turbines inside the pump house went silent in 1995, the former hydroelectric plant was abandoned; its Art Deco splendour rotting away alongside the lake. After a developer was granted the right to redevelop the two decaying, heritage-protected buildings a few years ago, the job of renovating the spaces fell to Cumulus Studio, a Tasmanian architecture firm.

Cumulus’s designers left the flaking facades of the 80-year-old plant buildings alone, while the insiders were carefully gutted; a choice the architects say was intended to preserve just a little bit of the site’s history:

Only minimal work has been done to the exterior of the buildings. This is a deliberate response to maintain the high heritage value of the existing buildings and to emphasize the contrast between the new interiors and the exterior—their distressed condition a testament to the harsh environment in which they are located.

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

Top image: Stuart Gibson. Bottom: Adam Gibson.

The interiors were restored and eventually turned into modern hotel rooms, complete with bathrooms, fireplaces, and other amenities. Today, it’s a resort called Pumphouse Point, and for a couple of hundred quid a night, you can sleep at the end of the dock, too.

Images used with permission by Cumulus Studio; by Adam Gibson unless otherwise noted.

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

Image by Sharyn Cairns.

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake





You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake




You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake



You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake


You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake





You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake


You Can Sleep In the Old Hydroelectric Plant In the Middle of This Lake

Image by Sharyn Cairns.