Roderick James Architects, Oban, Argyll , 2017


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Nigel Rigden     Download Original

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AirShip002 is one of five prefabricated aluminium and stainless steel insulated living units used as home, office, studio, and remote hideaway.

The AirShip was commissioned by a new company, ‘Out of the Blue Ltd’ which was created to develop and manufacture modest sustainable structures for accommodation, with minimal maintenance and long life. This design was developed by Roderick James of Roderick James Architects LLP, and Amanda Markham from Out of the Blue Ltd. In association with Atelier One engineers and Syspal Ltd.

AirShip 002 is sited on high ground with panoramic views over the Sound of Mull in the Highlands of Scotland. An iconic insulated aluminium and stainless steel accommodation pod made of components which can each be carried by two people. This permits erection in remote locations inaccessible to vehicles, on flat roofs in cities, or afloat. AirShip 002 requires minimal foundations and had to be less than 4m high, which in most cases will allow for erection in gardens without planning permission. The design had to be capable of straightforward erection or dismantling in a week by two people. The key criteria was minimal maintenance with a long life. The unit had to have off-grid capability.

AirShip 002 was designed for holiday letting through Airbnb, primarily for two adults for short stays. It has let almost continuously since it's completion in August 2017 and is booked through January, February and March (in the Highlands in winter!) and into the summer of 2018. Over 100 people have stayed and left glowing reviews.

AirShip 002 is sited on a secluded plateau on a 4 acre site high above the Sound of Mull, with views towards Ardnamurchan Point, Tobermory, and the Isle of Mull. It is protected by trees to the North, with views to the East, South and West. It draws water from a spring, and is heated by a woodstove. AirShip 002 has the benefit of mains electricity. Optional extras include a Swedish compost toilet, rainwater collection and storage, and photovoltaics on the roof with propane cooker or small generator.

The unit runs predominantly East/West with facetted dragonfly windows at either end giving kaleidoscopic views. The AirShip has 10 pivot/tilt double glazed portholes allowing through ventilation from either direction. The 100mm thick insulated cladding panels, (also a two person lift), run right around the unit providing a large insulated storage area under the floor panels. This space can also be used for rainwater storage. Doors at either end provide flexible access, means of escape in case of fire and allow units to be linked together in a variety of configurations
nterior includes a raised curtained four poster double bed with storage underneath, a substantial desk, hanging space, cupboards, sofa with storage under, (and double bunk option), two easy chairs, induction hob, microwave, woodstove, fold out dining table from island unit, fridge, galley counter and sink, shower spring flushed toilet and electric shower. The South door leads to a compact balcony with seating and steps to ground level.


  • Completed: Aug 2017
  • Floor area: 36m2
  • Sectors: Residential, House, Sports and leisure, Arts and culture, Hotel
  • Total cost: £100,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Address: Druim na Cracaig, Drimnin, , Oban, Argyll , PA80 5XU, United Kingdom

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