Across history and throughout the world, an equestrian facility exists as both accommodations for horse and hound as well as a display of luxury and wealth. From Johann Fischer von Erlach’s royal stables in Vienna to Jules Hardouin-Mansart’s stables situated opposite the Palace of Versailles, the housing of horses was often the priority of the grand estates. Historically, the stables would be built first and then be used as a base for the making of the palatial home and other buildings.
Seth Stein and Watson Architecture + Design’s Equestrian Centre Merricks on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is an impressive example of the modern equestrian estate. At first glance, this warmblood breeding and eventing training facility seems more of a modern work of art than a working farm. Beneath its stylish curved monopitch roof are stalls for six horses and the rear wall is of monumental rammed earth. At the end of the wall is the breathtaking water spout which empties into a shallow pool, from which the horses drink. This water feature is a clear reference to Luis Barragán’s Cuadra San Cristóbal, the ultimate in Modernist stabling. After the completion of the stables, the architects started creating a residence for the horses’ owners—which true equestrians will undoubtedly understand.
It was Stein and Watson’s goal to marry the unique concept with landscape in a way that blended function and beauty. For the modern equestrian, purposeful interchangeability is key as we navigate the seasons, the head of horses, grooms, feed rooms, the list goes on. “Stables don’t tend to stand still,” states Stein. “They need to expand or contract—other people’s horses might be stabled there; other people might bring their horses to practice. It’s got to be a flexible building.”
It has been said that the history of mankind is carried on the back of a horse. Over the centuries, the equestrian lifestyle is no longer just horses in a field or in a harness for work. They are caretakers, companions and athletes that are now on magazine covers, in film and in art. Horses have become luxury items synonymous with Range Rover, Hermes and Gucci (which was started as a luggage and saddle repair shop). For riders and owners across the globe, the instrict value of a stable that is a sanctuary for their horses and their passion for design is truly priceless.
If you’re looking for a new home for you and your horse(s), then contact Lauryn to make your equestrian dreams come true!