Rural Design About Page

Rural Design is a practice committed to a progressive yet sensitive rural architecture.

Based on the Isle of Skye we work on residential, commercial and community projects throughout Scotland and occasionally abroad.

Our story began in 2003 with two architects working from a home studio looking across to the Outer Hebrides. We have now grown to become the Highlands' largest practice. We bring together a team with a broad range of experience and a diverse skill set enabling us to take on challenging and complex projects.

We see our work as modern and progressive, but tempered by a love of place, traditions and materials – we aim for timelessness in our buildings. We try hard to attain simplicity yet richness, clarity yet depth, elegance yet robustness. Our work fuses many influences, ranging from a raw West Highland agricultural vernacular through to Scandinavian Modernism – but ultimately we like to think our work has unique imprint that is entirely our own.

As a team from Skye, we have experience of both the best and the worst of the environment. The raw beauty of the landscape is matched by the fierceness of the winters. We design for both extremes, with durability and sustainability at the forefront of our minds.

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Our portfolio of work emphasises the diversity of design skills we can offer, from new build and furniture design to landscape and masterplanning. Our collective knowledge, skills and experience, accumulated over years of practice, allow us to continuously seek improvements in the design and services we offer and to look for innovative design solutions to meet our clients' expectations.

Sustainability - this is at the heart of what we do , and ingrained in our design philosophy. A deep respect for the environment is why we choose to live here.

Masterplanning - we have a deep understanding of planning processes, and an affinity with working to the betterment of our communities and landscapes.

Conservation - we are RIAS conservation accredited, and particularly enjoy discovering the magic within our older buildings, and the ingenuity and skill of the craftsmen behind them.

Interior Design - we enjoy taking our projects the extra mile, and taking time to craft a bespoke interior to meet the needs and dreams of our clients. We work on both residential and commercial interiors.

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We start each project with the same guiding view: a unique proposition that requires a unique solution. Our approach combines practicality and intuition to achieve overall design excellence.

Our approach - regardless of scale or budget - is to first understand the vision and objectives of the client and then work hard to explore options to find a solution that exceeds expectations yet remains practical, achievable and lasting. A new project will generally begin with a design workshop, exploring together the project brief and a range of possible sketch solutions. It is often during that moment that the project takes on its own life. Each project is then underpinned with a clear diagram to guide the development of the design, each detail being as important as the whole.

We see ourselves as problem-solvers. We are highly collaborative with our clients in the way we work, believing that communication with the client is critical to the delivery of a successful build.

We have a passion for design that fully exploits what is already there - the site, the climate, the views, the path of the sun - with the use of materials which will weather naturally to achieve a timeless quality. Our aim will always be to make buildings that work and wear well, providing richness and resonance that endures.

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Our Team

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Selected Awards & Commendations

2021 House at Arisaig Saltire Housing Design Awards, Single Dwelling Award
2019 Invisible House Saltire Housing Design Award: Commendation
2018 Talla na Mara Civic Trust Award: Highly Commended
2018 Talla na Mara RIBA Awards: Shortlisted
2018 Tinhouse RIBA Awards: Shortlisted
2017 Corrie Saltire Housing Design Award: Commendation
2017 Pairc Niseabost Rural & Islands Housing Association Forum: Development of the year
2016 Turf House RIAS Festival of Architecture 2016: Scotstyle 100 years of Scottish Architecture 1916–2015 – Nominated as one of 100 selected Scottish Buildings of the Past Century
2016 Tinhouse Inverness Architectural Association: Winner, Best Small Project
2016 Tinhouse Inverness Architectural Association: Commendation, Best New Building
2016 Achabeag Inverness Architectural Association: Commendation, Best Use Existing Building
2016 Tarbert Business Units Inverness Architectural Association: Commendation, Best Use of Timber
2015 Black House Architect's Journal – Small Buildings Award: Shortlisted
2012 Bogbain Mill RIBA Award
2012 Bogbain Mill RIAS Award
2012 Bogbain Mill Doolan Prize Shortlist
2012 Bogbain Mill Saltire Award
2012 R.HOUSE Saltire Innovation Award
2012 Burnside, Plockton Inverness Architectural Association: Regional Winner
2012 Bogbain Mill Inverness Architectural Association: Regional Commended
2012 Lusta Inverness Architectural Association: Regional Commended
2011 Burnside, Plockton Scottish Housing Design Awards: Winner
2011 The Secret Garden Saltire Housing Design Award: Commendation
2010 The Hen House Saltire Award
2010 The Hen House Saltire Medal: Winner
2010 The Hen House Andrew Doolan Award: Shorlisted
2010 The Black Shed RIAS Award: Regional Winner
2008 The Black Shed Saltire Housing Design Award: Commendation