A subtle mimicking of the surrounding hills has allowed this Angus home to become part of the landscape
Taking its cue – and hue – directly from the Angus landscape, Zinc House fits perfectly into its surroundings. In fact, it has an almost chameleon-like presence on the brow of the hill on which it sits, overlooking the rolling hills towards St Andrews and the sea beyond. On a cloudy day it appears as a battleship grey, yet against blue skies it seems almost green in colour. And on a rainy day the house and its surrounding sandstone courtyard walls gradually turn the same colour.
None of this happened by chance, as architect Graeme Hutton explains: “The stone in the area has this lovely mossy-green tone. We liked it so much we originally thought of using it to clad the house, topped with a zinc roof. But the more we experimented with the local sandstone the more we realised that it had limitations as a building material. The site is very exposed and the sandstone would have quickly eroded in the wind and frost.
“But one day when I was thinking about the project, I had an idea. I texted the clients, saying, ‘Let’s do the whole thing in zinc, with just the boundary walls and courtyard in sandstone.’ They gave the go-ahead right away,” he says.
“The greeny-grey chlorite in the local stone is what informed the decision to clad the building in a single skin of zinc. When we first put the zinc sample next to the wet stone on site, the colour matched. It was a eureka moment!”
The appropriately named Zinc House also looks to the Angus landscape in terms of its form, echoing the agricultural sheds that had previously stood on the site, which owners Richard and Jackie Callison purchased in 2005 along with the neighbouring farmhouse and land. The couple, who had lived in a converted cottage adjacent to the farm for almost 30 years, knew those sheds had views to die for.
“The farmhouse and sheds sat on the brow of the hill and had a lovely aspect so I’d always had my eye on them. And when the farmer put the plot up for sale we went for it,” explains Richard. “At the time we bought it, though, the local authority wouldn’t allow any new building where the sheds were located. Fortunately, this changed around 2010 when building on brownfield sites was permitted, and disused farm buildings fell into this category. This paved the way for us to think about building a new house, as we knew we could finally apply for planning permission.”
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 126-138, issue 111.