Nestled deep within the rural Western Highlands of Scotland, and surrounded by breathtaking views, Lochside House has won the prestigious RIBA House of the Year 2018 award after being selected from a shortlist of 20.
Designed by Cambridge firm Haysom Ward Miller Architects, the award was announced during the final episode of Channel 4’s Grand Designs: House of the Year. It was chosen by an experienced panel of judges, including architects Takero Shimazaki, Niall Maxwell and Chantal Wilkinson, engineer Paul Rogatzki and curator and journalist Laura Mark.
Built for a ceramic artist, Michelle, the nuanced three-building structure used a variety of natural materials – such as charred Scottish Larch cladding hidden behind a locally derived drystone wall – which ensured that it blended comfortably into the lightly wooded landscape.
With architecture that puts practicality first, the building has been designed to function completely off-grid. To achieve this solar panels have been extensively used to generate electricity, while a borehole provides a clean source of water. On top of this, it also has waste treatment capabilities.
Combined with top-of-the-range eco-friendly features, including insulation, and a modular architectural design, which easily allows just the rooms in use to be heated, means that the building has a low carbon footprint.
Furthermore, the bulk of the construction used prefabricated SIP panels to reduce the transport logistics – further strengthening the building’s ecological profile.
The architects have designed a minimalist but cosy interior which, despite being unlike the exterior, nonetheless compliments it perfectly. Continuing the natural design philosophy inside, the ceilings comprises of an oiled timber ceiling and also features rough textured white plaster to add to the feelings of space and make the most of the light.
Features include a sizeable fireplace as well as broad wall-to-floor windows which allow natural light to flood the simple and compact design, while at the same time cultivating a feeling of oneness with nature.
The work isn’t finished yet, however. Forgoing a traditional fenced garden the architects are in the process of planting “native species chosen only to re-establish those that have been suppressed by invasive rhododendron or grazing”. The goal is to create a building that is a piece of the environment, rather than an addition to it.