Thorne Wyness Architects

Riverside House

Riverside House is a three bedroom house located at Aros Bridge in North Mull. The house sits at the mouth of the River Aros looking east out across the Sound of Mull towards the Morvern peninsula on the mainland.

The house is comprised of three main volumes. The first is the road facing white house, designed in continuation of the massing and form of an existing row of cottages; while a dark metal and timber clad element shadows this form and visually recedes into the slope at the back of the site. The two parts are joined by a dramatic hallway connecting the main living spaces and giving views out across the Sound of Mull to Ardnamurchan.

The design uses Cross-Laminated-Timber construction, which is exposed internally allowing the roof geometry to define the different spaces in the splayed, open-plan living areas. Different levels, nooks, and views are carefully placed to give glimpses across internal spaces and out into the surrounding landscape. Externally, the house takes traditional forms and materials and adapts them to the site, combining them with contemporary detailing and concealing the dramatic CLT interior with it’s sculptural forms lit by bespoke lighting design.

Our client wanted a very unique and modern design in an area where Planning encouraged the use of the traditional white render cottage with slate roof. Their site was at the end of a row of existing cottages visible from the road in an area designated as Countryside zone where infill, rounding off, redevelopment sites and changes of use of existing buildings are the only permitted developments.

View from bridge
View from bridge

View from bridge
View from bridge

Riverside House was designed as a comfortable three bedroom house, all en-suite, with living, dining and study- and our challenge was to accommodate this programme on a small site with very careful attention paid to the massing to provide a rounding off to the row of existing white render cottages alongside the river bank.

The bulk of the accommodation takes the form of a traditional white render cottage with slate roof, containing bedrooms, kitchen and dining room. In order to allow all of the living spaces to benefit from the view across the sound, the entrance, plant room, living room, and study are in a separate volume connected by a dramatic hallway. This part of the house is clad in dark sinusoidal metal and visually recedes in to the background, barely visible from the road.

Our Client liked the card model quality of CLT. In particular it allowed the roof planes to be unencumbered by traditional trusses, giving a clean and elegant experience of the spaces. The exposed CLT also gives the interior a warmth that contrasts the dramatic weather of the North West of Scotland.

We used a mixture of white render, sinusoidal metal and natural Siberian Larch cladding to break down the mass of the house and as the Larch has silvered, the White render and slate roof cottage volume visually dominates the proposal, fitting into the existing row of traditional cottages.

Main hallway
View from living stair landing
View to Kitchen and Dining
Stair to living area
Cherry tree window
Main stair
Stair landing