Norbu House, Gorthleck

Norbu House, Gorthleck

Gorthleck, Inverness-shire
120m2
Completed 2010

“We chose Neil [Sutherland] because we agreed with his philosophy. Neil had his own construction company [MAKAR], he used local materials and he was sympathetic to what we wanted. We had no idea what things would cost, and found allocating a cost to an architect very difficult.”

Neil MacKenzie & Jane O’Donovan, Gorthleck

A new 2 bedroom house in a 12 year-old native broadleaf woodland site. The woodland was disturbed as little as possible during the construction of the house, and now provides the building with shelter from prevailing south-westerly winds on the site. The ground floor accomodation compromises an open plan kitchen, dining and living space which is extensively glazed to the south and west. Services areas are located to the north, and a second bedroom and a large study enjoy south and east light. The first floor is housed in a narrow section, creating a cozy bedroom and en-suite minimising the energy needed to heat the space.

The building is constructed with locally sourced timber throughout. The Douglas Fir post and beam provides the main structure, and the secondary roof structure allows an air-tight envelope to be created around the building, insulated using Warmcell 100.

The building is clad vertically and horizontally in heartwood European larch and roofed with fibre cement roof panels. A wood burning stove is coupled with solar hot water collectors mounted on the south face of the roof to provide the building with hot water and underfloor heating.