Carrick Mill

Tom Jenkins, Fife, 2012


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North Elevation 

Murdo McDermid     Download Original

  • North Elevation    
  • Dusk - view from south    
  • Living space looking south towards the Firth of Forth    
  • Bed spaces and view to north    
  • East Elevation    
  • Covered Entrance    
  • Studio looking south    
  • Dusk - balcony    
  • Site plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Elevations    
  • Cross section    
  • Long section    
  • Development - studio space    
  • Development - flexibility    
  • Eaves Detail - Typical    
  • Eaves detail - Balcony    
  • Verge detail - Balcony    

Studio, garage and workshop on the site of a ruined 16th century millhouse, on the coast of Fife in Scotland

The stone walls have been built using the ruins of a millhouse that has been on this coastal site in Fife since the 16th century. Only one gable end wall remained intact from the original structure, and this was repaired to define a new courtyard.

The plan is compact and flexible, responding to the brief. On the upper floor, the clients (a retired doctor and ceramics teacher) needed self-sufficient accommodation for guests and family. In the future they hoped to move into the upper floor themselves. A garage and workshop are located on the lower floor, with level access to both floors made possible by the steeply sloping site.

The curve of the roof references local agricultural ‘Dutch' barn structures, and also the railway carriages that used to travel along the coast – now a public coastal path in front of the site. Beneath the unifying form of the steel-framed and oak-clad roof, individual spaces are defined by birch plywood ‘boxes’ which themselves enclose a bathroom and recessed entrance. These have been carefully placed to mark out dedicated space for the other functions of the studio, including living, dining and sleeping areas. They overlap with each other for efficiency, and will be easily adaptable in the future.

Small Projects Sustainability Award

This building tries hard to do as much with as little as possible. The freely flowing spaces are efficient in use, sharing space between living / dining / sleeping, and they are efficient economically over the long term by easy adaption using sliding screens at height as the timber boxes, should that be necessary.

The size of the upper floor at 60m2 is halfway between the Edinburgh city council minimum recommendations for a 1 bed and a 2 bed dwelling; yet it comfortably provides two beds in the current arrangement. Sharing of space, views out in each direction, and the visible drama of seeing the curved roof in its entirety are preferred over full height internal walls and the boundary space they inherently require.

‘Finishing’ materials have been avoided where possible; the birch plywood walls were a requirement of the structural engineer, and remain as the internal finish. All stone is reclaimed from the existing ruin.

The building achieves 10.9 kg CO2 /m2. It has high thermal mass, but the well-insulated internal timber lining allows quick response heating. Daylight is admitted deep into the plan with the large south-facing windows on both levels, whilst window blinds protect against excessive solar gain. The workshop is heated with a wood-burning stove, using timber from the surrounding trees.


  • Begun: Jul 2011
  • Completed: Feb 2012
  • Floor area: 125m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £175,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Apr 2011
  • Procurement: Bespoke
  • CO2 Emissions: 10.9kg/m2/year
  • Address: Carrick, Near Drumeldrie, Upper Largo, Fife, KY8 6JD, United Kingdom

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