Michael Lumby Nielsen Jenkins Merricks Farmhouse Victoria Australian Architecture Yellowtrace 02

Michael Lumby Nielsen Jenkins Merricks Farmhouse Victoria Australian Architecture Yellowtrace 06

Michael Lumby Nielsen Jenkins Merricks Farmhouse Victoria Australian Architecture Yellowtrace 07

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I’m sure everyone has found their minds whisking them to a farm, with minimal disturbance reduced to either the livestock or harvest set before themselves. Setting my eyes upon Michael Lumby and Nielsen Jenkins’s Merricks Farmhouse has awakened that peaceful daydream of country escapism. With its calming colours and muted tones blending in with the misty scenes that look towards Phillip Island, it won’t be surprising if many find themselves lured into the charming magic of its presence.

Located on a hilltop site over fifty acres overlooking the ocean, Merricks Farmhouse belongs to a couple who wished to relocate their home base to Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Though the house would only be occupied by two most of the time, they also hope the home will be a holiday nest for their four children and future members. Added the site conditions, including coastal winds and the romance of the farmhouse language, the design trickled down to an elegant brief of blending the family home closer to the edge occupied by the existing trees.

Taking cues from the Australian farmhouses and the architectural language of masonry buildings in South Africa, Merricks Farmhouse is characterised by a single level composed of porous volumes. Thick stone mason blocks border the perimeter of the house, with a singular dark roof umbrellaing over sections divided by the planted stone walls.

 

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Internally, Merricks resembles a crossover between Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion and McGlashan Everist’s beloved Heide II. Conscious of the low occupancy throughout the majority of the year, the architects strategically spread and sectioned the areas. The lesser-used spaces, including the four bedrooms with ensuites, sits towards the back, while the main one, including the bedroom, living and dining areas, are spread closer to the coastal zones.

With the borders, the external shell is spread out for porosity, and the internal courtyard is introduced to become the heart of the farmhouse. Characteristics of the external landscape slowly bleed into the heart of the house. With the visions from Franchesca Watson and Robyn Barlow, a rustic garden of stone pavers and lush vegetation wraps around the pockets of the family home. Poetically, each room is orientated towards the private sanctuary.

 

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A conscious acknowledgement of the budget and occupancy also called for stripping back in material usage. Capturing the charm of a sophisticated farmhouse, the external walls remain exposed on the inside, with concrete walls and floors grounding the tones. Black painted timber creates a sense of dramatic height. Wooden elements in the floorboards and chestnut-stained furniture add additional warmth, while confident lines of black steel frame the doorways for a contemporary feel. The combination of black stained timber ceilings influenced by the deep eaves of the roof and narrow skylights puncturing through add a layer of mystique to the architecture. All in all, everything blends into a ‘single line’.

While architecture is often known to disrupt the landscape, delicate planning and bold moves can also introduce a sense of nuance and layer of poetics. In the case of Merricks Farmhouse, the determination to maintain a single line to camouflage within itself, there’s a level of power in the silence the house exudes. One to admire time and time again.

 

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| The article Quiet Power: Merricks Farmhouse in Victoria by Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins. appeared first on Yellowtrace. |

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