Landscape Institute Scotland promoted a design ideas competition for a collaboration between landscape architect and architect to develop design ideas for a ‘house and grounds for an art collector’, on a rural site in Balquhidder, Perthshire.  Working with Neil Gillespie of Reiach and Hall Architects, a proposal was submitted which promoted the concept of a contemporary clachan, a sequence of indoor and outdoor spaces sheltering amongst defensive, enclosing walls dedicated to an appreciation of the natural rhythm of the southern highland landscape.

A sequence of stepped terraces was fashioned from the site, each orientated to the key view axes connecting to the surrounding landscape.  A series of single aspect pavilions occupy each plinth, linked but separate, jutting out towards the landscape, the sun and the views, defining a series of inter-connected courtyards, gardens and terraces.  The single storey structures, each with mono-pitch roof and substantial enclosing stone walls, are places of prospect and refuge, simultaneously both commanding yet safe.  As you progressively penetrate ever deeper towards the private realm, there is a kinetic procession between indoor and outdoor spaces: a life lived inside and outside against the backdrop of the changing seasons and an elemental celebration of the suns path across the site and the horizon.  A sensory way of living.      

The planting strategy proposed a fusion of native species and their varieties symbolising a microcosm of the highland landscape allied with a celebration of the heritage of 19th century Scottish plant collectors, whose exotic discoveries subsequently enriched rural estates throughout Scotland.  A sequence of prescribed works of art are integrated throughout the house and grounds, based on an understanding of the artist’s intentions, influences and inspirations, given them meaning and relevance within a cultured, civilised living environment.