This mid-1700s house on the wind-whipped Scottish Isle of Coll has been revitalized by a contemporary renovation after being abandoned for 150 years. WT Architecture was tasked with the unusual challenge of integrating a crumbling ruin with a modern, environmentally sensitive home. The White House's fractured façade forms the perfect bookend for the new building, contributing great character and history while protecting the new home from the brutal Atlantic winds. Step inside and you'll find yourself firmly in the 21st century - the home features sweeping banks of glass that face the breaking ocean, open living spaces, and locally sourced low-impact materials.
The massive stone walls of the original home were doomed to failure as they were set on top of a sandy foundation and further eroded by treasure hunters searching for buried gold. A century later the home was abandoned to the whims of the coast until a couple decided that it would be the perfect backbone for a new house. The first job was to firm up the home’s stone walls and foundation. The new home huddles within the confines of the immense walls and branches out with a glass-lined living room at the home’s core. The other wing is buffeted by a large dry stacked stone wall. Lighter materials such as wooden beams and steel provide basic building elements while reducing the energy needed to ship materials to the site. The home also takes advantage of passive design strategies to lower its energy demand. A large bank of windows allows daylight to shine on the well-insulated black riven slate floor, which in turn warms the upper stories on either side. The original stone walls shield the home from the prevailing winds and provide a sheltered courtyard. The home is designed to be naturally cooled, and a green roof over the center of the home helps maintain its internal temperature. The home features a rich palette of local materials — from the dry stone wall made from stones found in an adjacent field to the Scottish larch, which is stained black and set both on the inside and exterior of the house. The glass and steel add light elements that contrast with the massive stone walls to give the home a contemporary sensibility. + WT Architecture Via The New York Times Photos © Andrew Lee