Designed by Cameron Webster Architects, ‘Due West’ is carefully adapted to the specific conditions of its site on the Lunga peninsular in Argyll and Bute, on the West Coast of Scotland. As its name suggests, the coastal house enjoys spectacular sea views, but is also exposed to the force of the Atlantic winds.
The house sits in a cleft between rocks on the top of a cliff with views towards the Western Isles. Using the steep slope of the site, it is arranged over two levels, with private bedroom accommodation on the lower ground floor and the main public accommodation at the upper floor, which is also the entry level.
The house is reached via a dirt track, offering glimpses of the sea and the islands before arrival, and suggestions of the dramatic view beyond are revealed through openings in the timber cladding.
A split section roof allows sunlight to penetrate the main space throughout the day. Smaller windows facing east offer more controlled framed views back towards the land. The bedrooms on the lower level have window openings to the west but also to the sheltered, south-facing courtyard formed at lower-ground level on the landward side.
“There was a desire to create a range of spaces, some that allow for a comfortable feeling of shelter and cosy intimacy”, says the architect. “Seeking beauty in darkness, we have tried to contrast the sunny glazed living area with darker spaces leading into it at the edges”.
The house is constructed from a highly efficient, large-format, prefabricated Val-U-Therm Scotframe timber kit, selected to reduce time on site (“a combination of wind, rain and the Scottish midge can stop any site!”, says the architect). The kit sits on a series of steel beams set into the rock and forming a cantilevered edge over the cliff to push the house out and maximise the panoramic views. High-performance triple-glazed windows were specified, and heating is provided by a borehole ground-source heat recovery system, and a MVHR ventilation system.
A simple material palette comprises random-width Siberian larch cladding – which softens the south elevation from the main approach – stone, and zinc. The timber cladding was treated with Sioo wood protection to provide a consistent weathered appearance. Zinc is detailed to represent the strata of the rocks. Internal oak linings and window and door openings reflect the clients’ passion for boat-building.