Raw and Experimental – Ross Farm by Studio Moore
Meeniyan, South Gippsland, VIC, Australia
As an exercise in reuse and repurposing, Ross Farm is a collective of dwellings that have been conjured as evolutions of their earlier agricultural beginnings. Andrea Moore of Studio Moore, together with her father, has created a unique accommodation offering that responds sensitively to its context, expressed through a raw and honest materiality.
Ross Farm sees the repurposing of a series of unused agriculture structures, each with their own unique identifiable personalities, into uniquely curated destinations in south-eastern Victoria. Nestled into the rural locale of Meeniyan, the spaces, affectionately known as the Cabin, Barn and Dairy, are conceived from the same place of experimentation and exploration, each utilising a sense of the found and the curious. As an opportunity to prototype ideas, the spaces are dotted with the ideations of Studio Moore, which have then been built by her father, Lindsay Moore, and a team of local builders and craftspeople. As each unused building on the rural site was given a new lease on life, they were transformed into separate accommodation types, allowing varying sized groups and individuals to share the space as an escape. Challenging the typical and expected approach, the aim was to create a destination that immersed the visitor in its setting and context and one that draws on the historical use of the site as a working dairy farm.
Nestled into the rural locale of Meeniyan, the spaces, affectionately known as the Cabin, Barn and Dairy, are conceived from the same place of experimentation and exploration, each utilising a sense of the found and the curious.
Its remoteness affords Ross Farm a natural inclination as a restorative destination, where its disconnection from urbanity creates a retreat that offers spaces for reflective contemplation. Taking influence from the site’s beginnings and the remaining elements, the design utilises a raw and honest materiality. There is a deliberate emphasis on craft and the handmade, while also offering interpretations of the familiar. Aside from a few introduced items, most elements, from furniture to joinery, basins, light fittings, fixtures and a custom bath, have been conceived newly for the spaces and reflect a similar calming mood. There is an emphasis on using natural and local materials and applying them unfinished or in alternate ways than conventionally intended. The result connects each of the Cabin, Barn and Dairy with a similar language, but offers slight differences and, consequentially, altered experiences.
The Cabin was the first of the spaces to be designed, reworking the interior and establishing the entry to enable an optimisation of the connection between inside and out. Having a clear connection to the landscape was important and, as the first design, this set a precedent. The Barn retains the original footprint of the existing barn structure, which was then rebuilt to align with required regulations, and sees the roof raised to allow for a mezzanine level to be inserted that results in a lofted double height space. In rebuilding the structure, the existing exterior fabric was reused to retain an element of history and ensure the authenticity of the original build was maintained. And the most recent addition, The Dairy, sees three existing structures aligned through an L-shaped circulation space. This latest iteration takes on a darker and moodier palette than the preceding two, with Japanese influences and darker timbers, again all locally sourced.
Aside from a few introduced items, most elements, from furniture to joinery, basins, light fittings, fixtures and a custom bath, have been conceived newly for the spaces and reflect a similar sombre mood.
Ross Farm beautifully extends the relevance of its previous life as agricultural buildings, offering a unique series of accommodation spaces to appreciate the carefully crafted elements made specifically for the location. Studio Moore combines a sense of the curious with the inventive to bring together the site’s past, its heritage and its present form as a welcoming, unique retreat.