Blackhouse

Moxon Architects Ltd, , 2017

 

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Ben Addy     Download Original

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A room for cooking in a wood fired oven, eating and drinking with friends; thinking, reading and drawing.

Planned and intuitive in equal measure, this small building was made by its architect in the ruins of an abandoned highland blackhouse. Drawing on modern and pre-modern influencesm it was an opportunity for learning by making and an experiment in the use of large-section, locally sourced timber.

A Douglas fir structural frame that was selected, felled, milled and jointed by hand before being erected while still ‘green’ supports a gently curved planted roof that oversails the partially reconstructed drystone walls of the old croft.

Embedded in the steep sloping hillside, shutters open up along the entire south elevation to afford a panoramic view of Lochnagar and the Upper Dee valley.

Designed to emulate the slope of the hillside, the monocoque structure of the roof provides bracing to the trabeated structural frame. A ‘notch’ in the leading edge of the roof allows space for the doorway, while projecting eaves on three sides provide dry seasoning space for the hardwood logs used to fire the oven.

The top surface of the roof is extensively planted with native wildflowers to match the surrounding forest floor. Shrinkage in the unseasoned frame over the past 12 months has caused the joints in the structure to bind tightly together, closing up the overlapping Douglas boards used for the building envelope and (partially) eliminating a tendency for draughtiness.

Steel eyes bolted to the columns and roof allow for hammocks to be hitched and with the wood oven at one end and a small stove at the other; the space is kept comfortably warm even as the temperature outside drops below minus 20C.

Data

  • Begun: Aug 2017
  • Completed: Dec 2017
  • Floor area: 32m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £6,750
  • Funding: Private

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