Our client’s family wanted to move to Iona after many years of visiting the island with extended family and friends. Their family had built a Doran bungalow as a holiday house in the 1960s. This early form of off-site construction was once popular across the Highlands and consists of prefabricated concrete panels.

Whilst the bungalow was full of happy memories from exploring Iona, it was not big enough to accommodate the family on a permanent basis and hard to keep warm in winter. The client decided to demolish the old house and build a replacement which respects the story of the bungalow and its visitors.

The response is based on recycling elements of the old house, ranging from its overall size and proportions to cutlery and wallpaper. The location and massing of the new design is exactly the same as the bungalow, negating its impact on neighbours and the landscape. Precast panels from the Doran construction are to be reused as paving stones. The under-building has been recycled by a neighbour as bunding in a sea defense for a flood-prone field, and the old timbers have been set aside for raised beds in the garden.

The floor is a polished concrete screed using aggregate from the nearest quarry on Mull, the timber for the floor and stairs are larch from Ross-shire and the kitchen was built on Skye.

The client also wanted the house to be sustainable in terms of its longevity and energy use. Windows and roof lights are carefully orientated to introduce passive solar gain and wood fibre insulation is used to create a breathable building envelope. The flush detailing of the roof lights and the larch rain screen cladding achieves a pure, simple roof form.

The challenge of creating more accommodation within the same building envelope is solved by the addition of a central staircase and roof lights, transforming the former attic into habitable spaces.
The two floors are split level and rotate around the central staircase to create four distinct zones with varying ceiling heights. These zones increase in privacy from the entrance level to the living space and family bedrooms above.

Photography by David Barbour

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