Public Cooling House

Punctum’s Public Cooling House is part art house/part bath house. It provides a public gathering place to beat the heat in a public garden or park setting for our increasingly hot and dry times.


The amazing experience inspired me to think more deeply about issues that I had taken for granted for some time. It made me think back to the way my parents (who died aged 90) dealt with our water issues and it also made me think about how we can improve the sharing of knowledge in this regard.

Participant – Bayside

The Public Cooling House is a flat pack low impact design combining a contemporary interpretation of desert architecture with natural materials and cooling practices to create a poetic experience of public cooling.

Drawing from simple, ancient evaporative cooling techniques such as the Australian Coolgardie Safe and Syrian wind catchers, the interior includes individual terracotta cooling pools and the walls are of sustainably grown Australian Hoop Pine ply perforated with a replicated Coolgardie Safe wall pattern. The roof is made from fire proofed canvas woven in Australia and custom made. We use yachting and trucking strapping connecting elements to bring everything together. There are no nails!

In this ‘house of cooling’, Cooling House Attendants draw from our relationship with the immensity of climate change and an imagined ‘water future’, to refresh our bodies and invigorate our sense memories.  Intimate performances and talks by exceptional  artists and thinkers are programmed throughout a Cooling House season giving local poignancy and relevance to the encounters.

This semi permeable system of ‘membranes’ housing intimately refreshing experiences is the cool place for our hot future!

The Cooling House has appeared at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Artlands Bendigo for National Regional Arts Conference, Bunjil Place as a part of CLIMARTE, Bayside City Council and WOMADELAIDE 2019.

The role water plays in a Botanic Gardens is obviously vital and having the Cooling House situated in the landscape allowed our staff to have the opportunity to talk about our water management and conservation programs. In addition to the cooling sessions we also hosted a talk series with our expert staff on the areas of water management and plants cooling capabilities.

It was the perfect environment to a showcase the work of Botanic Gardens.

Kara Ward – Creative Producer, Special Projects Programming and Audience Development, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria



Devised by PUNCTUM

Artistic Direction, concept and design: Jude ANDERSON

Design and construction co-ordination: Morwenna SCHENCK with assistance from Jimmy NAYLOR

Project Management: Adrian CORBETT

Artist liaison and coordination: Tegan LANG



Live Performers: Vanessa CHAPPLE, Terence JAENSCH, Cate KENNEDY, Louise O’DWYER.

Live Musicians: EARWORM, Mauricio CARRASCO, Nikki EDGAR, Aviva ENDEAN, Justin MARSHALL, Erkki VELTHEIM.

Attendants: Josiah LULHAM, Tanguy TRILLET, Briega YOUNG

Soundscape: Jacques SODDELL with the voices of Janet BROMLEY, Rhoda MAKUR, Po TU TU, Fatima QURBANI, Rebecca WUOR, and with assistance from Forest KEEGEL.

Speakers: Carmen BATESON, Rodney CARTER, Hugh FEARLY, Stephen LUMB, Lee MASON, Jenny OXLEY

Marketing Design: Josh DURHAM – Design by Committee

Documentation: Miles BENNETT Dianne DOMONKOS

Support: Creative Victoria, Regional Centre for Culture, Regional Arts Victoria, Shire of Mount Alexander, Workspace, Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Emerge Program.

Created in March 2018 – a commissioned work for the 2018 Regional Centre for Culture.

Part of this work premiered at Arts House as part of the Refuge Heatwave project 2017.

Explore other Punctum works.