Rural Design Architecture The Invisible House Project Page
The original brief for the project at Colbost, a township in north-west Skye, was to replace an existing stone bothy with a new 2 bedroomed house.
In its semi-ruinous state, the bothy was an eye-catching reference point by the roadside; an idealised building form in the otherwise empty stretch of rough crofting landscape. We suggested that the original bothy be restored, and the new house built over the crest of the hill where the croft falls away dramatically to the eastern edge of Loch Dunvegan.
Our intention was that the house be hidden from the road, the original seaward view unaltered. The clients’ brief was for the house to have some reflectivity, referencing commercial buildings as possible precedents. After much research, we arrived at the solution of staggered shingles of marine grade polished stainless steel. The external form has taken on a further layer of invisibility and now sits “chameleon-like” in the landscape.
The house is oriented to the panoramic view over Loch Dunvegan and its islets, sitting easily within the geometry and topography of the croft. It's simple geometrical forms - the two horizontal elements tucked up against the taller metal shed - take inspiration from the ad-hoc self-built structures that dot the rural landscape.
Internally the house is arranged as a simple linear plan, the metal shell housing a large full-height open-plan living space, book-ended by bedroom wings, maximising privacy for the occupants.
As one moves in the landscape, the shimmering lifelike quality of the cladding is expressed, the ever-changing reflected landscape resulting in an ever-changing form.
Alan Dickson, Marnie Macdonald, Hazel Roe-Bose
copyright Nigel Rigden
Saltire Housing Design Award: Commendation