Farm House embodies a contemporary homestead and establishes a strong and site-specific relationship with sustainable farming. The clients are seasoned farmers who are committed to sustainable agricultural practices, and it is through this lens that the design brief was framed. We asked ourselves how our clients could live on this land in a modern but thoughtful way, what a modern farm and farmhouse should and could look like, and how we could integrate the building into a site that has been cleared of its bushland. The final design touches each of those questions in a subtle and restrained way, and references traditional Australia outbuildings.
Clearing the existing bushland to make room for the farm necessitated the construction of a dwelling to serve as a secure anchor for the inhabitants; connecting harmoniously with the land and meeting the needs of a growing family. Considering the potential challenges posed by harsh weather conditions and the absence of natural buffers, the architectural form needed to feel substantial and robust, providing a solid foundation for family life while adapting to the site’s unique characteristics.
To align with their commitment to sustainability, the owners aimed to integrate eco-friendly practices into every aspect of the farm, including the residence itself. Local stone sourced from neighbouring farms and the site itself became a focal point, celebrating the locality of the structure. Throughout the design, mechanisms were incorporated to ensure efficient energy and water usage, while strategic orientation and openings allowed for optimal control of sunlight, heat, and natural ventilation.
Creating a sanctuary from the elements, a partially enclosed garden space offers a refuge and contrasts with the surrounding farmland. The site’s natural occurrence of exposed rocks, unearthed over time, inspired the choice of materials and influenced the resulting colour palette. We utilised stone from both the site and neighbouring farms to anchor the building into the site, with rough-sawn timber cladding talking to the lost bush land, and a galvanised steel roof which is a nod to the vernacular Australian farmhouse.
Volcanic rock literally emerges from the soil over time so it seems fitting to use it in this context. The clients erected and filled the gabion walls themselves. The building also creates shelter for a small but stunning garden: this complex ecosystem sits in contrast to the rolling green pasture.
Embracing a natural aesthetic, timber was extensively utilised to add texture and warmth, while the galvanised roof sheeting reflects the familiar appearance found in many farms within the area. Internally, the dwelling boasts a crisp and modern design, echoing the warmth of the exterior and providing a tranquil shelter for relaxation and rejuvenation.
To support the client’s busy lives the space needed to feel calm, light-filled and uplifting. The conditions on site swing dramatically from gale-force winds to clear blue sky within minutes, so the building need to act as a refuge from the storm whilst capturing the drama.