When Rural Design Architects was approached by clients looking for a self-build on a very tight budget, the local firm knew they’d have to get creative. Armed with experience from previous self-build projects, the architects designed the Black House, a three-bedroom home with an artist’s studio and study on the Isle of Skye. The rugged and simple-to-build home sits lightly on the land and, in contrast to its mostly black facade, bursts with textures, colors, and art inside.
Though breathtakingly beautiful, the landscape on the Isle of Skye can be quite hostile, a challenge that shaped the Black House design. Rural Design Architects nestled the triangular building between two small mounds and brought the south side of the home, where the strongest winds hit, closer to the ground while raising the northwest side to take in views of the Loch and summer sunsets. Black corrugated metal clads the home and was chosen for durability and as a nod to the local agricultural vernacular. The envelope is well insulated to weather temperature extremes.
The light-filled interior has a raw and utilitarian feel thanks to the oriented strand board wall panels, low concrete wall, cement floor finish, unfinished concrete stair, and exposed metal ductwork of the whole-house ventilation system. These elements are playfully tempered with the addition of color and modern art that punctuates the space—bright pops of color can also be seen on the outside of the home as well. The bedroom, studio, and bathroom are placed at a lower elevation than the main living area.
“The house is truly a “Black House”, not only by its colour but by its very spirit. It draws parallels to the can-do attitude of the original occupants of “blackhouses”, heroically self-built using basic materials and skills to create a shelter for the family,” said the architects.