This ultra-modern take on the Highland steading has some surprisingly close ties with its Victorian heritage
Three is the magic number. Or at least it appears to be something of a leitmotif in a recently emergent ‘Highland steading’ in the Perthshire countryside. Replacing an imposing Victorian hunting lodge, this contemporary development by Cameron Webster Architects with Marcus Lee comprises three wings arranged, horseshoe-like, around an internal courtyard. Three ‘cores’ with servicing stacks (culminating in three chimneys) feature at the heart of the main living area, which then expresses itself via three glazed bay windows to the front of the house. Even the upper-level bedrooms have capacious three-metre-high ceilings.
It’s apparent from these introductory stats that this is a far cry from the traditional idea of a steading as low-key, couthy stone cottages and compact farm buildings. Indeed, the monumental scale of this build trumps its two-storey predecessor, at least in terms of footprint.
So what was the thinking behind replacing the existing Victorian building? “The initial appraisal looked at whether it was worth keeping the original house,” says Stuart Cameron of Glasgow-based Cameron Webster Architects. “But it had no real connection to the surrounding landscape, even though there are great views in every direction. The water supply, which comes off the hill, was problematic too: the owners couldn’t use the house in summer as there was never enough water, and they couldn’t use it in winter as the water often froze.
“Doing a new-build rather than just a refurb was feasible, since the owners don’t live on site. So, with this in mind, we proposed starting again, with zero per cent VAT, which made a lot more sense.”
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 148-158, issue 103.