London-based Raw Architecture Workshop's latest project is a beautiful black-stained timber residence located in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands. Embedded into the side of steep slope that used to be grazing land, the house features an angular design that captures the sun's ascent over snow-capped mountains, as well as its descent behind nearby islands. Wild grasses from the surrounding site will engulf the foundations of the house and provide natural insulation during the cold Scottish winters.
Raw Architecture Workshop set the home’s living spaces on the upper portion of the plot, while the sleeping areas and entry level are stacked beneath. The home’s exposed concrete base is overshadowed by an elaborate timber frame that draws inspiration from the gabled shape of a typical Highland cottage. The ends of the house were altered to allow for larger windows, and therefore views, while the central section was pinched to reduce the amount of surface area exposed to the biting cold. Because the property is built into a slope, it also benefits from its natural foundation and the insulation provided by the soil and wild grasses.
The interior of the house strikes a stark contrast to the dark earthen tones of the surrounding highlands. While the entrance on the lower level might resemble a concrete bunker, each of the 3 levels within the house is clearly defined by changes in light level, scale, floor-to-ceiling height and materials. Complemented by light wooden floors and furniture, each of the stories still manages to retain a unique atmosphere thanks to the angular patterns that carry through from the outside.
Raw Architecture Workshop also factored in some environmental concerns when they conceived the building’s design. They carefully planned the home’s position and orientation, employed local labor, and sourced local materials. The inclusion of an air source heat pump and super insulation also helps to mitigate the amount of energy needed to keep the house warm throughout the year.
Images by David Barbour