At home with photographer Tom Ross

Derby Street | Architecture architecture | Photographer: Tom Ross

What does the concept of home mean to you? 

Jeepers. All the clichés, about family I guess, but also I want it to act as a constant reminder of who we are, and where we’re trying to go.

How would you describe your home?

A sunny little treetop nest

When photographing a project, what elements are important to you and how do you try to capture these?

I start with the designer’s intent and let that inform where we point the camera. For myself it’s important to try to capture atmospheric qualities beyond the purely visual. Still photography is obviously reductive which has its strengths and weaknesses.

Derby Street | Architecture architecture | Photographer: Tom Ross

How do you select the things you surround yourself with at home?

I think of it as a coral reef of our lives well lived. A team effort with Emily, Lenny, and Lucy, it’s a growing collection of artefacts of the people we know mostly, and the experiences we’ve had.

What made you decide to renovate your home instead of choosing to buy something new?

Everyone else was getting a go at it. I’m so jealous of all the people I meet who get to work with architects to make places for themselves, it’s a wonderful process. That, and why buy something new built by a broken system when there’s so much great quality stuff around that can be affordably given some love.

How would you describe the process of renovating with a friend?

I imagine it’s fraught for some, but it was just a hoot for us. Well I can’t speak for Michael Roper (Architecture architecture), but I had fun (most of the time). Mike and the gang made the major gestures of knocking walls out, designing the steel work and things, then we only had enough money left to do the kitchen and bathroom ourselves.

How do you select and think about colour?

The trend as I get older seems to be more and more colour, because life too short to worry about being tasteful or something. In this case, I tried a few colours for the steel, and ended up with a pink hue I had sampled from a photo I took of the sky at dawn out our window. It was a colour I just kept noticing in the sky here.

Elizabeth Campbell RAIA is a senior architect at the City of Melbourne. She is a contributing editor of Architect Victoria.

Tom Ross is a photographer living and working in Naarm (Melbourne). Trained at the Victorian College of the Arts, and Massachusetts College of Art, he works with architects, and storytellers, and has been published internationally.

Published online:
01 Jan 2024

Architect Victoria
Edition 3 

More from Architect Victoria

Tehran + architect Kamran Diba

Tehran is a busy metropolis with densely packed housing and small galleries, parks, cafes and restaurants in the pockets of every main street. A stroll ...
Read more

The importance of Gender Impact Assessments in shaping future cities

The Royal Commission into Family Violence and resultant legislation has brought about changes to the way that built environment professionals are required to approach design. The ...
Read more

At home with photographer Dan Hocking

What does the concept of home mean to you? Home is a place where I’m at peace and have access to the things that are ...
Read more

Off Grid House: Archier

Located within a treasured landscape, this origami-like family home envelops several generations under one roof while mimicking tones of the mountain rocks and the creek ...
Read more

Matsuyama + architect Hiroshi Sambuichi

Matsuyama, on Shikoku Island, is known as the City of Haiku, with heritage architecture associated with notable haiku poets.
Read more

Siedmiorogow Drugi + architect Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak

Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak’s earlier housing project, Maisonette Apartments, built in 1960, was a modernist undertaking and the first in Poland to have apartments spanning across two levels.
Read more

Hargeisa + architect Rashid Ali

I have recently come across the work of Rashid Ali, a London-based architect who has ancestral roots in Hargeisa. Knowing the struggles Somalia has had ...
Read more

What does the future city look like? Next question

A conversation between Mike Hewson and Sunday Hyde
Read more

Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit: Kennedy Nolan

The Wilam Ngarrang Retrofit, a minimal intervention renewal of a 1970s walk-up apartment block in Fitzroy, demonstrates the benefits of adaptation over demolition and the housing sector’s latency in ...
Read more

Saigon + architect A21studio

A21studio is a small architectural practice in Saigon. Their work challenges the typical urban residence which is often detached from the Vietnamese lifestyle and climate. ...
Read more

Bendigo Law Courts: Wardle

Highlighting how the justice system in Australia has shifted, and how we might continue to grow in how we approach diversity, Bendigo Law Courts by ...
Read more

Radical resource custodianship

Circularity is a system of material re-use and regeneration where we ask: What resources have I got at our disposal to bring to life what I ...
Read more

Yakimono: Russell & George

A layered sensory experience, Russell & George’s Yakimono draws on the experience of a typical late-night Izakaya to plate-up a restaurant that is reminiscent of Japanese concepts, without ...
Read more

Valparaiso + architect Cazu Zegers

Composed of forty-four hills and a flat area oriented to the bay, the busy and sometimes worn-down working port of Valparaiso, Chile, is a natural ...
Read more

Darebin Intercultural Centre: Sibling Architecture

By prioritising community as the driving force behind their design, Sibling Architecture’s Darebin Intercultural Centre stands as a welcoming new community facility, aspiring to nurture meaningful ...
Read more

Guangzhou + architect Atelier Deshaus

Guangzhou, my hometown and where my grandparents live, is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province in southern China. It is a bustling city with ...
Read more

Garden House: BKK Architects

Garden House is an enduring home which successfully creates a spatial model that is specific to the couple occupying it (and their two cats). It ...
Read more

Deco House: Mihaly Slocombe

Preserving the historic fabric of the original Art Deco building, Mihaly Slocombe have created a home filled with light. Providing room for a family to ...
Read more

Nightingale Anstey: Breathe

Homes are complex places, and we expect a lot from them. It’s easy to forget the range of functions that they are often required to ...
Read more

Creating an underwater garden

City skylines increasingly feature roofs and walls that are covered in foliage to trap stormwater and moderate internal climates. This approach to greening is now ...
Read more

This form is now closed.