A Dualchas house in Wester Ross  has won the coveted award for the Best New Building at the 2022 Highlands and Islands Architecture Awards.

A stone ruin of an old croft house in the township of Diabeg was taken down and rebuilt alongside a new larch-clad mirror image. The stone wing provides an ensuite bedroom and the larch wing accommodates an open plan living space, bathroom, and guest bedroom. Between the two is a frameless triple-glazed link, which is the heart of the house. The frequent transitions between the link, where you feel connected to the elements, and the cocoon-like buildings to either side, gives the home its unique character. The judges commented:

“Beautifully considered, this is an example of rural housing at its best. An exquisite delight and joy which makes us consider what we actually need in life.”

Project architect Ian Hall said, “We are thrilled that the judges recognised what we were trying to achieve, but this was only possible because we had an ambitious client who was committed to doing something special. All work is a collaboration, and we also want to thank Simpson Builders of Beauly for realising the project with skill and endeavour throughout."

Dualchas also scored a success in the Best Use of Timber category, where a family home in Breakish on Skye for the Flyn family was commended. The judges said:

A pure form, beautifully articulated. A lesson in understanding materials and in pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved.”

The HIAA awards recognise and celebrate projects that express and enhance the identity and culture of the Highlands and Islands. In the last two decades, many Highland award winners have gone on to win national Scottish awards, as well as UK-wide awards, reflecting the high quality of modern design that the Highlands has become known for.

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