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Design movement: Umbilico Circus School

Design movement: Umbilico Circus School


The surprise for architects Dunn & Hillam when they started work on this project for Umbilico Circus School and Space For Movement in Sydney, Australia, was just how three dimensional the circus world is.


“Those of us who just walk around see the X,Y and Z axis of the world in a fixed way,’ said Dunn & Hillam Director Lee Hillam, “however, if you are swinging around on a trapeze, the world stays still and you are continually moving around in relation to it, so your relationship to the room continually changes.”



Umbilico is a circus and movement school in Rosebery, New South Wales, Australia. Dunn & Hillam’s brief was to create a simple and bright renovation providing an aerial training space as the main focus whilst incorporating fitness training, yoga, dance and supportive therapies such as massage. Multiple spaces for relaxing, observing, coaching and hanging out were incorporated.


“For this project, we looked for ways to emphasise the three dimensions, to really make you aware of the volumes and the infinite variability of space and how you move through it. We thought about how the spaces would appear from upside down and sideways and every other direction. For example, we planned the front desk and change room spaces to deliberately contrast the orthogonal, boxy plan and section we were working with, “ she said.




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