Creating a house of calm

This multi-award winning house has been inspired by the Scottish blackhouse, a traditional type of house which used to be common in Scotland around 150 years ago, but abstracted in to modern architecture. The client inherited the croft from his mother, and he wanted to build a home that connected with the landscape and the local heritage.
It is a house built for a Buddhist in a deeply Presbyterian part of Skye. The religions share a sense of dignity, quiet and respect. The intention was to create a calm, contemplative space for our client to escape the city and spend time with his friends.
Dualchas Architects, client wanted a tranquil space where they could view the extraordinary landscape, but also feel secure from the often ferocious weather. They wanted the buildings to be modern, but have a continuity with the past – to have a connection to the traditional dwellings of the area, and to use materials which allowed it to be low impact – to be part of the topography.
Internally, they wanted refined detailing and limited materials – timber and stone were used: oak-faced ply panels and Caithness stone.
The site is exposed, and had a large bowl of scrubland to the front which was not particularly attractive, despite the wider views to the Outer isles and the Cuillins of Skye.
It was decided to dam the outflows from the bowl so that a lochan was created. This brought water much closer to the proposed location of the house, transforming the context. External materials were chosen so that the building would blend in with the materials of the surroundings. Metal gates and fence wire, larch fence posts, stone walls were the inspiration.
The intention was make the house unobtrusive in the landscape, to give the client privacy but allow him to enjoy the views. Firstly, the building was broken up in to three elements – the main living spaces, the bedroom and entrance wing, and a studio. This meant the spans could be narrow and the roofs low.
An external stone wall demarcates the access and parking, which is public, before entering in to a private space. A wall of the external studio also conceals the air source heat pump and the bins – clutter is concealed – simplicity is sought, inside and out.

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