• aylwen dennis

full circle thoroughbreds & museum

Over the past 2 years spinney have been collaborating with C4 Architects on an exciting project in Romsey, Victoria which includes the development of a new equestrian museum along with a holistic thoroughbred racing complex. Located in Wurundjeri country on the edge of the Macedon Ranges, and overlooking the Mt William Range, the site is within the critically endangered Victorian Volcanic Plain grassland ecological region.

site view looking west to the Mt William Range

landscape detail plan: equestrian complex and museum


Along with a vision of a unique, beautiful and authentic setting for the equestrian complex and museum, the approach to all design work has been led by the client’s vision of a fully sustainable a property. Structure for the design principles has been provided by the One Planet Living sustainability framework, which will enable the entire project to be certified by the One Planet Living program.


The landscape response has been heavily inspired by the local character, context and conditions. One of the key design themes has been exploring the restoration and celebration of the endemic Victorian Volcanic Plain wildflower grasslands in a creative and aesthetic way, which will provide ecological benefit and raise public awareness of this critically endangered ecosystem to museum visitors. Native wildflower and grass ‘meadows’ are planned in key areas around the museum and building complex, particularly in prominent locations at the entry and in the foreground of the main view from the museum.

volcanic plain grasslands near Sunbury, Vic

Image credit: https://ggarrardresearch.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/splendour-in-the-grass


The design process has involved a high level of collaboration with C4 Architects, with navigation of complex level changes and integration of built form with the landscape key to the design resolution.

Spinney’s landscape scope ranges from broader property master planning to detailing of courtyard spaces, to consultation and exploration of sculptural elements to complement the museums art collection. Emphasis has been placed on sculpting landforms to both restrict and expose views, as well as utilisation of planting and design detailing to create intuitive wayfinding through the complex. Planting will provide shade, amenity and setting for the built forms, with selected ornamental species used as a palette to create seasonal colour. High quality local materials and a superior level of detailing will achieve a seamless transition between the buildings and surrounding landscape.

stableyard courtyard with proposed reflection pool

approach to museum and equestrian complex with native grassland and wildflower 'meadow' in foreground


The design team have also worked in consultation with Mariette van den Berg, a world leading authority on the science of Equine Permaculture, to regenerate and repair depleted soils and pasture, including planting of native pasture grasses. With this approach, microorganisms and earthworms in the soil will break down organic matter in a series of beneficial interactions to produce plant available nutrients, with the benefit of enhancing the ecological profile of the soil and providing the best possible pasture to nurture young horses.


With master planning, planning approval and initial consultation with Wurundjeri representatives completed, and Stage 1 planting and pasture regeneration work already underway; we are looking forward to progressing the museum and equestrian complex into construction documentation in 2020!


view across pasture

 © 2019 by aylwen dennis and claire winsor. 

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