Monikie home a ‘Grand Design’

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Architecture show Grand Designs is this month featuring a home near Monikie designed by a Dundee University professor and which it has named as one of the best in Britain.

‘Zinc House’, near Monikie, is in the running for the ‘Grand Designs/RIBA Best House in Britain 2016’ award. As such, an extended segment extolling its many virtues will feature on the Channel 4 show, which attracts audiences of up to three million for each episode, on Thursday, November 24, at 9pm, The building is also the subject of a six-page spread in the latest edition of the Grand Designs magazine, with spectacular photography appearing alongside interviews with the architect and owners.

Professor Graeme Hutton from the University of Dundee and local architecture firm Leadingham Jameson Rohers + Hynd designed the property, which is constructed with a steel and timber frame, insulated by blockwork and clad in zinc. The large south-facing windows and glass doors flood the property with natural light and afford spectacular views right across Fife and almost as far south as Edinburgh.

The materials and colours used mean the 500m2, four-bedroom property blends in with its surroundings rather than jarring with them. An array of solar panels generate electricity to ensure minimal energy use and low running costs.

“We are not about one-off fancy villas,” Professor Hutton told Grand Designs magazine. “We are interested in creating a language for houses in the Scottish landscape, the results of which might be quiet and modest. It is not about making a statement. The agricultural landscape of Angus was the inspiration for Zinc House. The colour was selected to match the chlorite mineral that characterises the local stone.”

Twenty properties from across the UK have been nominated for the Best House in Britain award, with each being showcased throughout the current series of Grand Designs. The winner will be announced on December 15.

The University/LJR+H partnership have already received a Royal Incorporation of Architects In Scotland (RIAS) Award and a Best Residence prize in the Scottish Design Awards for Zinc House. They had previously won both awards for the design of ‘The Shed’ in Meigle. Both properties are part of a wider project exploring how domestic buildings can fit in with the rural landscape.

Professor Hutton continued: “We are absolutely delighted to have won so many accolades for one-off houses and to be in the running for the Best House in Britain award. The genesis of this success lies in the planner’s office of Angus Council. They rejected the client’s original application because the design was unsuited to the surrounding countryside and advised them to visit The Shed to see an example of a house more in keeping with its environment. Thankfully they loved it and we were commissioned.

“Zinc House and The Shed prove that you can build modern buildings in a way that is sensitive and not disruptive to a landscape of natural beauty. Myself and Mark O’Connor from LJR+H worked closely on this project and it is a fantastic example of knowledge exchange between the University and a commercial practice.”