A wooden-clad cabin in the Scottish Highlands that relies purely on solar power and a borehole for its water supply has been named the best new house in the UK.
Lochside House in the West Highlands was crowned as the winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year competition last night.
Sitting on the shore of a loch, the house is made up of three buildings grouped together and clad in burnt Scottish larch, with the site protected by a traditional drystone wall.
With a roof designed to echo the distant mountains and help it fit its location, the house was designed and built to order for its owner, a ceramic artist named only as Michele.
In order to protect her privacy, the exact location of the house has not been disclosed.
Due to its remote location the three buildings are also completely off-grid, with all energy needed for heating and cooking provided by solar panels and water being pulled up from a borehole.
Inside, the walls of the cabin are lined in white oiled timber, while its surfaces are skimmed with a rough textured plaster and large windows at varying heights capturing stunning views.
Designed by Cambridge-based Haysom Ward Millar architects, the house was revealed as the winner in the final episode of the Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year last night.
“I fell in love with the Scottish Highlands on a camping trip after university and dreamt one day of renovating or building a place to live and work,” Michele said.
“When I stumbled across the site in 2010 I knew immediately that I’d found the perfect spot and the process since then has been incredibly exciting.
“I was so lucky to find an architect who shared my sense of the importance of the place and am delighted that the final result – my home – does justice to its magical setting.”
Architect Tom Miller said the project had been far from straightforward due to the “unique challenges” of working at such an exposed and inaccessible site.
“It is astonishing that the remoteness and challenging weather did not prevent the client’s vision being achieved,” added the chair of the award’s jury, Takero Shimazaki.
“The architect’s off-grid solution seems almost effortless. Inside, the spaces merge with the artist owner’s art collection, and there is an overwhelming sense of comfort, warmth and homeliness.”
Lochside House was described as “truly breathtaking” by RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, who praised its use of local materials, sustainable energy and sensitive construction which left the surrounding area as little disturbed as possible.
Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud added: “This building has been tailored to its site. It’s been stitched and woven…seamed in to the tapestry of this place and it is so much the better for it.
“It’s the kind of architecture that we can all easily love, the kind of architecture we can all easily learn from – and it’s a way of building that we, in Britain, are getting really very good at.”