Merricks Farmhouse | Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins

Merricks Farmhouse | Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins | Photographer: Tom Ross

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Merricks Farmhouse | Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins

Traditional Land Owners


Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
Tom Ross
Project summary

This house is located on a spectacular 50 acre property with views over vineyards towards Philip Island and Western Port Bay and is conceived of as an abstraction of a typical Australian Farmhouse. While its siting on a prominent hilltop affords it the best views, it also means that the house is somewhat exposed to the coastal climate of the region.

Spread out over a single level, the program of the house is arranged to counter this, creating a large and sheltered courtyard garden in its center. This courtyard becomes the most important room in the house, acting as reference and refuge from the expansive nature of the outlook, as well as an introspective focal point for the house once night falls. The heft of the walls, deep eave overhangs and dark ceiling finishes further enhance this experience of refuge within the broader context.

National Architecture Awards Accolades
National Award for Residential Houses – (New)
Victorian Architecture Awards Accolades
Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
Shortlist – Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
Victorian Jury Citation

Merricks Farmhouse is an exemplary interrogation of the Australian farmhouse vernacular as a place of refuge, shelter and comfort of home.

Nestled into the hillside of a panoramic property overlooking the vineyards of the Mornington Peninsula, a courtyard plan provides protection from the elements. Spilling out from beneath a singular gabled-roof form, spatial volumes are shaped with the rise and fall of the natural ground floor plane to achieve distinction between private and public zones. Sculpted, skylit roof forms provide a subtle light quality to the otherwise diffusely lit interiors with expansive views to the coastline beyond.

The omnipresent central courtyard contains a lush, landscaped garden that breathes light, air and connection into the internal spaces, and provides refuge from the often-harsh coastal environment. The relationship to landscape is maintained throughout with secluded garden views afforded to every room.

There is a richness and rigour to the palette of materials: muted concrete block in the heft of the walls, and generous glazed views framed by charcoal ceilings and light shafts. The care in detailing and quality of the build speaks volumes to the collaborative partnerships and trust garnered between client, architect, builder and landscape designer.

Victorian Jury Presentation

The design of our Merricks Farmhouse has transformed our lives and is an absolute joy to live and work in every day. Its connection to the landscape, its simplicity and strength of design, its comfort and scale makes it a home that far exceeds our expectations for it

Project Practice Team

MORGAN JENKINS, Design Architect

Project Consultant and Construction Team

PERRETT SIMPSON, Structural Engineer
WESTERA PARTNERS, Structural Engineer

Connect with Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins
Merricks Farmhouse | Michael Lumby with Nielsen Jenkins | Photographer: Tom Ross

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