Donaldsons Residence

Ancona, Victoria

Our rural site is located in Victoria’s High Country, Australia. The Ancona Valley is characterised by rolling pasture and river flats set to a backdrop of surrounding mountain ranges. At 450 metres above sea level, winters are cooler and summer temperatures higher than average for Victoria. Sheep and cattle graze this idyllic and picturesque landscape, a perfect place to retreat and rejuvenate.

The romantic notion of a country escape spirited the purchase of this blank canvas property, the same promise informing the style, arrangement of structures, material compositions and integration of garden surround, within the existing rural setting.

There are four main pavilion structures, the centrally located two storey core provides casual living/dining kitchen, family bedroom accommodation and a mezzanine studio. Buried within its walls lies the original structure of the hayshed, its overall form still legible. A steel garden arbour extends from this to a new guest studio. Further afield and flanking these two buildings is a utility barn, housing farm machinery, hobby studio and workshop spaces.

Completing the building cluster is a further stand-alone pavilion, purposed for entertaining, it offers the strongest connection of internal living space to the garden and pool area through extensive atrium scale glazing.

Each pavilion serves a purpose, and each exude a sense of individualism as a result. Our material pallet throughout is drawn directly from the regions farm vocabulary, reinterpreted and adapted in a modernist manner. Here, Natural stone, galvanised iron and rough sawn recycled timbers prevail.

There has been no attempt to make bold architectural statements at our Ancona residence, rather and more importantly for us, it is to simply facilitate the manner in which we choose to live, engaging with this rural setting, engendering a sense of ‘other-worldliness’ and escapism.

A place to refresh, replenish and reinvigorate.