Architect: Dualchas Architects
Client: Mr & Mrs Williams
Contractor: James MacQueen Builders
Contract sum: £500,000
Completed: Summer 2012
Contract type: Traditional
No. of homes: 1
Cost per sqm: £2000
Key Aims and Objectives
The brief was for an open plan living/dining/lounge but also separate games room and study/sitting room and 4 bedrooms. There was to be a separate shed for storage and wood store and heat pump shelter. The design is directly inspired by a black shed on the adjacent croft, simple in form and clearly rooted to its landscape. The form developed out of a desire to lose the bulk of the relatively large building into the shadow of the cliff behind so that the 1 ½ storey element containing all the bedrooms sits behind the main simple communal living space in front.
Key Challenges and Opportunities Posed by the Site
The site is an elevated bare croft land site with views over Dunvegan bay to the Waternish peninsula. It has long views to the north to Isle of Harris and south towards Dunvegan. To the west is a wooded cliff.
The main challenge was to capture the views from the living spaces whilst building a large house on a site with a steep slope to the front and a cliff to the rear. This was addressed by designing a stepped linear floor plan over two storeys with a large open plan living/kitchen/dining room. To negate the visual impact of a large building, the exterior timber was stained black which helps blend it in to the cliff behind. Outbuildings form a courtyard to create a sheltered entrance away from the strong winds.
Approach and Execution
The design is directly inspired by a black shed on the adjacent croft, simple in form and clearly rooted to its landscape. The form developed out of a desire to lose the bulk of the relatively large building into the shadow of the cliff behind so that the 1 ½ storey element containing all the bedrooms sits behind the main simple communal living space in front. Materials and detailing were key to achieving a crisp finish.
The roofs are constructed with 10mm aluminium roof sheeting, finished with black Plannja Hard Coat surface coating and laid on battens. The 18mm Siberian larch rainscreen cladding to the walls has been stained black with an OSMO water-based product. Flush detailing to the building envelope, achieved by concealing the galvanised steel gutters and downpipes, gives the volumes a taut appearance and the overall composition one of a grouping of distinct and simple forms.
High insulation levels — 260mm to the roof and 200mm to the walls — as well as good quality windows, mean little heating is required, much of this provided by the wood burners in the living spaces, with background heating supplied by an air source heat pump.