Life is a Circus – Building Umbilico Part 1

The idea started as just a place to go and train. Throw a trapeze up, put some mats on the floor and maybe build a little home gym to top it off. But finding such a place in our local area with the necessary height wasn’t easy and so as the search started to grow so did the idea and that’s what eventually brought us to the home of Umbilico at Mentmore Ave in Rosebery.


It took 8 months to find the right building and then almost 2 years to fit it out and deal with a fair amount of red tape along the way. It’s been one hell of a ride to even get the doors open but it is has been so worth it. To see where we have been and where we are now is beyond satisfying and we’d like to share some of this journey with you.


So this is the first part of a little show and tell photographed by our dear friend, the supremely talented Shirin Town showcasing the Umbilico build. We’ll start with downstairs, which consists of a large “L” shaped space which now houses the circus arts and the functional fitness areas. In the far corner before we ripped it out was a small mezzanine that allowed Shirin to take some great shots from up high. The stairs from this small structure now feature behind the front counter as a little reminder of the past.


The foyer at the time had been gutted leaving only two WC’s and a small kitchenette. We believe the building previously housed a call centre, and remnants of wiring and cabling were apparent throughout. Fitting 3 change rooms, 3 breakout areas and the expansive front counter into this relatively small area was quite the feat.


There was also a large amount of structural work to be done that will no doubt go widely unnoticed. On the south wall additional insulation was constructed to aid in soundproofing. To ensure the integrity of the aerial rig, additional beams and columns where engineered and put in place that would also allow us to maximise the number of rigging points.


As we take this trip down memory lane, special thanks must be made to our architects at Dunn and Hilliam, Craig Niven and his team from CNC Building Professionals, engineer John Carrick and Jon Blake, rigger extraordinaire from Spider Monkey Constructions.

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