Posts from the ‘WORK’ category

Newhouse of Auchengree

The new house is located within North Ayrshire, an equal distance between Dalry and Beith, within the Garnock Valley. The site is a plateau at the top of a slight incline and raised from the surrounding agricultural fields. This elevated position gives the building wonderful views over the North Ayrshire Landscape, however it has little natural shelter and is very exposed to the elements. Strong South-Westerly winds can make being outdoors on the site quite uncomfortable.

rural design farm houseIn response to the site and conditions, the functions of the house are contained within a cluster of building forms, which draw on the traditional groupings of agricultural farm buildings and steadings in the surrounding North Ayrshire Landscape. A two storey element, a one storey linear element and an outbuilding form a cluster around a three sided courtyard. The buildings draw on the form and proportions of traditional rural North Ayrshire Architecture. As with traditional local buildings and agricultural buildings, the roofs on the proposed house are symmetrical with a traditional pitch on all the main parts of the building.

zinc clad farm houseThe roofs and walls of the building are clad in zinc. This material choice provides a contemporary, quality exterior that references the local rural agricultural buildings. The choice of material also draws on North Ayrshire’s tradition of industry and agriculture working harmoniously in the landscape and looks at referencing the steel and iron foundry’s, which were once located in the Garnock Valley.

Contemporary farmbuilding and steading in ayrshire The proposed building is approached via the existing access, which continues through the building into the internal protected courtyard. The pend creates a pause space between the wider landscape and the intimate internal courtyard. The large barn doors can be closed to provide both privacy and security as well as a small micro climate via an indoor/outdoor space, which extends the seasonal use of the courtyard and provides a sheltered outdoor space even in the most severe weather.

(c) David Barbour

New House of Auchengree North Ayrshire

Contemporay zinc clad house in north AyrshireFrom the internal courtyard; the main house, the single storey building and outbuilding can be accessed and activity can spill out into this space. The courtyard receives morning and afternoon light while being protected from the severe winds, whilst offering external space for social and utilitarian functions.

Rural Design: Contemporary Farm House, North Ayrshire

The buildings are connected by a route that runs from the north to the south, flowing through and connecting both the south/west courtyard, the internal courtyard, the outbuilding and orchard. At each stage framing a view of the North Ayrshire landscape and creating a series of intimate relationships with internal and external views and spaces.

This was one of the first Single Houses in the Countryside to gain planning permission under the new North Ayrshire Planning guidelines.


RIBA House of the Year – Shortlisted
Andrew Doolan Award for Best Building in Scotland – Shortlisted
Saltire Housing Design Award
RIBA National Award
RIAS Architecture Award
Scottish Design Award: Best Residential Building
GIA Supreme Award
GIA Residential Award
Scottish Quality Planning Award – Place Making

Photographs by Susan Castillo

Rural House & Outbuilding, Isle of Arran

Ann Nisbet Studio were appointed as Architects to design a house, outbuilding and studio on a rural site, on the Isle of Arran. The site is located out with the local development plan, in an area designated as countryside and was therefore submitted for planning via North Ayrshire’s ‘Single House In The Countryside’ Planning guidance.

The house is located on the former site of  an historic Clachan and more recently a series of farm buildings. The new house is located within the stone ruins of the former dwellings, emulating the form, proportions and story of the former buildings in a contemporary way.

New Rural House Isle of Arran

New House location in stone ruins

Architect designed rural house Arran

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Rural Barn House: Lochaber, Highlands

Ann Nisbet Studio was commissioned to design a new rural house on the site of an existing dilapidated corrugated barn near Fort William in the West Coast Highlands. The site is located next to an existing white house on an elevated position, on a functioning croft, over looking Locheil.

It was important that the new building was kept low in the landscape and subservient to the existing white house; To achieve this the new house references the former agricultural shed, is designed on a single level and is asymmetrical in form, rising towards the rear of the site.

Rural Barn House_Lochaber_Highlands

Contemporary Rural House_Highlands

The new three bedroom house is clad in timber and aluminium, referencing two of the main industries of the Lochaber area. There are a number of external covered areas that allow the clients to sit outside and enjoy the view, while being sheltered from the elements.

Rural Barn House

The house has solar panels for hot water and is heated via a ground source heat pump and wood burning stove.

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Locheil House: Lochaber

We were commissioned to design a new rural house on a croft in the West Coast Highlands. The site has incredible views over Locheil towards Ben Nevis, but also has several houses located in close proximity. Part of the design brief was to focus the building on the views, while retaining privacy and avoiding being over looked.

The new houses draws on the form and proportions of the former township dwellings and the traditional barns found in Lochaber.

The new three bedroom house is clad in timber and Aluminium that reference two of the main industries of the area. The house has two external covered areas, which allow the clients to sit outside and enjoy the view of the loch and mountains, while being sheltered from the elements and retaining their privacy.



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Sealbh: Bespoke House


(c) Ann Nisbet

Sealbh House is situated in the rural area of Tomatin, in Strathdearn close to Inverness and enjoys panoramic views of the Cairngorms and the River Findhorn. The site is located in the Soilshan wood in the remnants of a small holding, which still contained a workers cottage/bothy. To the East of the site lies the railway line and the A9 road and to the west lies the River Findhorn and the village of Tomatin.

Tomatin OS MAP 1903

In response  to the local vernacular, the building has a narrow plan, allowing light from both aspects. The upper storey of the building over hangs the building and is clad in vertical larch rain screen, from Russwood timber just a few miles down the road.  The lower storey is clad in rendered block and forms a buffer between the building and the A9 road that lies to the East.  The clients stipulated early on in the process that the kitchen and dining area was to be the hub of the house and reflect their love of cooking and socialising. Expansive windows run the length of the west elevation and wrap around to the North and South, opening up the building to the view and the outdoor environment.  *Project carried out while Principal at Dualchas Building Design.

Rural architecture Tomatin

Tomatin glazed elevation

Bisset House

Rural Masterplan

A feasibility study for a five acre site in Inverie, Knoydart. This south facing site, over looking Loch Nevis,  is bounded to the south by the road and to the north by a a steep bank leading to some spruce forest.  Through careful negotiation with the roads department and planning office to increase the potential of the site from around 6 to 12 dwellings, with an affordable housing remit of 25%.

The houses were designed with a clear sustainability agenda in terms of their drainage proposal, the energy strategy and economic viability. The Feasibility Study proposed the installation of a district heating system such as Wood Chip boiler, to reduce the carbon foot print of the community and everyday running costs of each unit.. Project carried out while Principal at DBD


Stance Cottage Renovation and Extension

Stance Cottage Bridge of Orchy

Stance cottage is situated on the old drovers route from Fort William to the south. The drovers would stop in Bridge of Orchy and pay to ‘stance’ their cattle/sheep in the stance below the cottage. Over the last 150 years a shed or barn has continuously stood beside the cottage. These have been demolished and re-constructed several times since the cottage was built, and each have been used for many different functions, including the storage of hay and livestock. In recent years it’s been used as a store by the roads department, home to a classic car enthusiast and a training space for a local boxer. The existing shed was not only beautiful but contained an interesting narrative about the history of the site. It was decided that the story and tradition of the shed should continue to evolve.

The new extension would be designed within the existing footprint of the shed, and emulate its size and proportions, however this time it’s use was to be a contemporary extension to the cottage. The extension consisted of a horizontal clad connection – which contains the lobby, bathroom and kitchen – and the main shed form containing an open plan dining and living space – open to the apex – with a corner window over looking the River Orchy. Large glazed sliders open the living spaces up to the north, towards Glencoe and a Lone Rowan tree grows through the larch deck – kept due to the client’s superstitions.

The extension is timber frame construction, clad in both horizontal and vertical Scottish Larch, which was oiled black. The main extension is roofed in corrugated black steel, with the connecting flat roof being in alwitra – both in keeping with the original shed. The west gable of the extension is wrapped in a dry stonewall, which continues into the garden.

Stance Cottage Map

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Marchhall Garden Extension


8 Marchhall Crescent is located over the top two floors of a traditional stone building in Prestonfield, Edinburgh. Access is via an internal staircase on the east elevation. An important aspect of the design brief was to provide both a visible entrance and a flexible garden room, connecting the house to the rear walled garden. The new extension provides a lobby, a pause space before ascending the stairs,  a double height living space opens up towards the south facing garden, maximising solar gain and providing a much needed connection with the outdoors.  *Project carried out while Principal at Dualchas Building Design.

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Marchhall - Garden Extension

The bright red door and aluminium canopy allows the entrance to be easily identified to visitors and passersby.

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Propping Through Riverside

Propping Through Riverside 1

The Architectural Installation was a collaborative project between Ann Nisbet and award winning artist Patricia Cain. It was designed and constructed for the Drawing (on) Riverside Exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow in 2011

The installation draws on  processes, techniques and construction methods employed on the River Clyde both past and present. Shipbuilding methods were used in the construction and development of the piece.

In 2015, the installation was moved to the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, where it forms part of the museum’s permanent art collection.

The project was generously sponsored by Ferguson Shipyards, Arts and Business Scotland, Paterson Timber, Elmwood Construction, Rheinzink, Varla UK and Galgael.

Propping Installation

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Propping Through Riverside 3

Propping Through Riverside 2

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Propping Through Riverside Installation

(C) Ann Nisbet

(C) Ann Nisbet