A Highland Farmhouse Transformation
Last week, the Scottish government revealed its masterplan for Cairngorms National Park, an ecological cradle located in the eastern Highlands. The proposed plan includes investment in visitor infrastructure, high-speed broadband, new walking routes, increased woodland and 200 new affordable housing units. Situated within the park at Crathie, in the Lochnagar National Scenic Area, is Coldrach – a formerly derelict farmhouse that’s been handsomely restored by British firm Moxon Architects.
Coldrach is an 18-century farmhouse that has been transformed into a private home with an extension that draws on the ad-hoc tin shed typology of farm buildings. As part of the regeneration, the granite farmhouse has been restored using traditional craft techniques. A low-impact extension is positioned to the rear of the existing building, minimising impact on the topography of the site.
The addition creates a ‘U’ form plan similar to that of vernacular steadings in the area. This gives a sheltered external space between the original farmhouse and the extension which acts as a micro-climate in the otherwise exposed site.
“Coldrach is a contemporary reworking of the highland vernacular. Our design strives to appear humble but is also precise, playful and sophisticated,” said Ben Addy, Director, Moxton Architects.
The extension is nestled slightly below ground level, giving it a natural relationship with the surrounding landscape. Replicating the volume of the existing farmhouse, the 120 sqm addition is connected to the original by a low-slung link volume with a fully planted meadow roof. The new is connected to the old by a frameless band of glass, with the remainder of the addition clad in untreated European larch and finished in red-oxide corrugated metal sheets. The sinusoidal profile of the sheeting is used in horizontal and vertical directions to distinguish between fixed and moving panels – fifty percent of the courtyard wall area can be opened up. The result aims to not only reflect the austerity of the existing granite architecture but also continue the use of vernacular materials – honest and elementary.
Heidi is the president of Matte PR and a mentor with Toronto Fashion Incubator. She’s inspired by brutalist architecture, sculptural fashion, and Italian“Giallo” films. Influences include John Waters, Yoko Ono, and Suzy Lake.