Rural Design Architecture Black House Project Page

Black House
Black House
Black House
Black House
Black House
Black House
Black House

Black House, Fiscavaig, Portnalong, Isle of Skye

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Pursuing a dream to build a family home on the Isle of Skye, our clients came to us with a need to self-build, on a very tight budget. Our response to their brief, which included 3 bedrooms, an artists studio and a study, had to be spatially efficient, simple and easy to build. Their site, a triangular hollow set between two small drumlins and exposed to the often hostile climate of the west coast of Skye required a unique design. Just above the base of the hollow, to the north-west, the view to Loch Bracadale opened up. With an ambition to touch the ground lightly the plan form and stepped section of the Black House was devised and the potential of the site unlocked.

The house evolved into a single storey, mono-pitched form. It nestles into the triangular hollow, hunkering down to the south, and the strongest winds, and rising up to the north-west to embrace the view of the Loch and the summer sunsets.

The house is truly a “Black House”, not only by its colour but by its very spirit. It draws parallels to the can-do attitude of the original occupants of “blackhouses”, heroically self-built using basic materials and skills to create a shelter for the family.

  • Project Type

    Private house

  • Client


  • Size


  • Completion


  • Team

    Gill Smith, Alan Dickson

  • Photography

    copyright Nigel Rigden/Rural Design

  • Awards

    Architects Journal - Small Buildings Award: Shorlisted