When WT Architecture were given the brief for The White House on the stunning Hebridean Isle of Coll, the task ahead must have given them pause for thought. Take one 18th Century listed ruin, add a coastal location within an area of outstanding natural beauty, place upon sand foundations (with Bronze Age Pottery hidden beneath – cue an archaeological survey!) and turn it into a comfortable, modern family home.
The design of the home had to encompass several factors. It needed to embrace the rugged location whilst withstanding the associated weather (wild enough to cause repeated delays during construction), provide a space flexible enough to change with the demands of an evolving family, blend the existing ruin with the new build (whilst simultaneously halting and preventing any further deterioration), and do all this in such a way to keep the planners happy.
The solution to this was to utilise the existing structures and surrounding materials in the underpinned and secured ruin, whilst simultaneously “marrying” the new building into the old. Any new materials needed for the site had to be lightweight and/or locally sourced, in order to keep both transport and environmental costs low. Russwood’s Scotlarch® cladding was perfect for this remit, and was chosen to clad the new build alongside the recycled stonework from the outbuildings surrounding the ruin.
It is testament to the dedication of the clients that when Christmas came (seven months before the completion of a two year build), they chose to visit our flooring showroom with their contractor, Spey Building & Joinery, to pick out their ideal floor for their home. Russwood’s Chateau Ebony boards were chosen by the clients to grace the floors of their dream house, with solid boards (150x20mm) for the first floor, and a slightly wider finish (189x20mm) in an engineered board for the ground floor. The engineered floor was chosen in deference to the underfloor heating, as the composition of the engineered board is capable of withstanding the additional demands the system places on the boards.
The White House is now not only a well-loved and lived in family home, but is repaying all the hard work and effort that was put into the design and build by winning a handful of awards. It has been honoured with the Edinburgh Architectural Association’s Ambassador Award, a coveted RIBA 2011 design award, the award for Architectural Excellence at the Scottish Home Awards, and a Commendation for the Saltire Housing Design Awards. Accolades indeed!
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