A farm in Goshen, Kentucky, has been renovated into a visitor destination, located on a 266-ha (658-acre) agrarian landscape, which is noted for the generations of world-class racehorses raised on the site. The new space has been transformed to experience the state’s traditions of horses, food, agriculture, and bourbon.
Designed by Kentucky-based architect, JRA Architects, the complex includes a restored barn, a nationally registered historic mansion, a glass conservatory, and a visitor’s center, all within a short walk from the thoroughbred foal grazing fields.
Visitors can begin their journey at the Polo Barn Welcome and Retail Center, which has been carefully restored to retain much of its original charm, while integrating modern amenities. The former horse and cattle barn, Barn 8, has been transformed into a center showcasing vintage carriages and carriage horses, as well as documentation of the Hermitage Farm’s history, while keeping the historic building intact.
Existing horse stalls define the first floor, creating intimate seating rooms that divide the main aisle from the bar and kitchen. Visitors’ first impression is of the bourbon barrel rick that rises full height of the building and embraces the grand public stair. The soaring hayloft encompasses the entire upper level, providing space for daily tourist orientation, as well as a destination for weddings and large events.
Lighting and art are integral to the experience, and select, monumental views to the surrounding landscape draw visitors through and beyond the space to engage with the land and learn about the farm-to-table practices that define the menu. The building is a rack supported traditional barn form clad with painted wood and metal roofing. The center of the building has carved away the racks to shape an intimate gathering space for tasting experiences, flanked by barrels on all sides.
The main restaurant is located on the first floor, which is divided into intimate seating rooms, and the upper level’s hayloft is suitable for weddings and large events.
At the heart of the farm’s dedication to locally sourced, sustainable agriculture is the newly built conservatory, which is designed with three distinct zones. The northern section, known as the citrus room, opens to a protected plaza where citrus trees can be moved outdoors during the warmer months. The central area, which serves as a carriage and event space, is fully climate-controlled, and has additional space for farm storage, cleaning, and processing.
The southern portion, serving as a horticulture room, includes both in-ground beds and modular growing tables, which support the growth of early plants and supplement the farm’s overall horticulture operation.
The building structure and systems are a hybrid of traditional commercial construction and turnkey design build fabrication. The building was prominently positioned to frame the visitor experience among exterior planters, traditional farm fields, and the modernized event barn.