Ann Nisbet Studio


Posts from the ‘WORK’ category

West Balkello Farm: Angus

West Balkello is a multi-generational house, located on a small working farm, which sensitively references the inherent characteristics of Strathmore’s unique rural vernacular. A building that is rooted in the local identity and creates a strong sense of place in both the immediate and wider landscape.

The initial design brief focused on the development of a new farmhouse for three-generations of the Caul family. The building was to be modern, low maintenance, sustainable and respond to the local landscape.

The site is accessed via an existing access road that runs north towards the Farmhouse, the south building, which is nestled into the landscape, is slowly revealed on approach. The track leads around and enters a courtyard, where the buildings are accessed.

The dwelling is designed within a cluster of three buildings, formed around a courtyard and nestled into the landscape on three sides. The buildings emulate the form and proportions of building found in the historic farms in this area of Angus.

Unique characteristics of Strathmore’s rural vernacular such as the hipped roof, first floor loft and access doors and large ground floor openings were researched and referenced in a modern way.

The buildings are clad in a simple palette of timber and metal cladding, which compliments the deep reds and purples of the Sidlaw hills to the north and the woodland to the west. The coloured metal emulates the traditional use of colour in the local farm buildings. 

The house employs a ground source heat pump with a 195m borehole, an MVHR system and has a ground array of PV’s, which generate more electricity than is required to run the farmhouse. A second borehole provides a private source of water.

Photographs: David Barbour

Area: House 250sqm Completion: 2022・ Client: Sandra and Neil Caul

Press: Grand Designs Magazine March 2024

Glendale Cottage: Harmless House, Stirlingshire

The new dwelling is in the Campsie Fells near the Carron Valley Reservoir and forestry. The project is located on the western edge of a small cluster of houses, with westerly views, across agricultural land, up the valley towards Meikle Bin. The site locality experiences intensive weather conditions and is exposed to strong south-westerly winds.

Three important elements of the brief were to strive for a harmless house; it should be designed to be inclusive and adaptable for old age with a focus on dementia; and reflect how the clients live and work.

The new dwelling consists of two linear one-storey buildings with a simple connection between. Offsetting the buildings created sheltered and defined ‘in-between’ spaces. Completely clad in robust black corrugated aluminium, the form and silhouette emulate the traditional forms and proportions of the local rural vernacular.

The buildings are orientated to maximise solar gain and provide shelter from the prevailing winds. Large shutters, clad in perforated aluminium, slide open to reveal a pend, which gives access to the rear of the site and provides a covered utilitarian space which also acts as gym, workshop, garage, and kayak/bicycle store.

The house is accessed via a sheltered orange door on the east-side of the connection building, from where all main spaces can be accessed.  The front building contains the main domestic spaces; a large bedroom with mezzanine, and kitchen and living space, which all open to the apex. A reading lobby with views of the garden connects the front to the rear building.

A flexible studio and workshop takes up the full length of the rear building. Large bi-fold doors open to extend the studio into the pend, allowing access for bikes to be brought into the workshop and models/artwork into the studio. A utility space is recessed into the wall of the studio and bike hangers are positioned along the opposite wall.

From an early stage the house was designed to be dementia and age friendly.  This influenced every aspect of the design including the layout, the material and tonal palette, the kitchen design, and sanitaryware and ironmongery specification. The aim was to incorporate the research and guidance used within care-homes and hospitals and apply this within a residential context in a design-led, non-institutional manner.

The project adopts a fabric first approach, utilising a deep timber frame construction and cellulose insulation. Natural boards and paints are used throughout. A renewables strategy was implemented consisting of an air source heat pump with underfloor heating. PVs with battery storage generate electricity for both the house and the client’s electric car and bikes.

The project has been assessed by Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre and has been awarded gold via their EADDAT assessment tool. We are currently working with DSDC to produce a series of short films about the design of Glendale: Harmless House.

Photographs: David Barbour

Area: House 126sqm (Pend 39sqm) Completion: 2022・ Client: Private


Residential Award: Scottish Design Awards 2023: Silver Award

Stirling Society of Architects Awards 2023: Best New Build Award

Saltire Society Housing Award: 2023 Shortlisted


Homes and Interiors Magazine: March 2023

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Cuddymoss: A House for a Bird Watcher

A dwelling house, located within and around a stone and brick ruin in the Ayrshire landscape. The project was conceived as a ‘building within a ruin’, and consists of a quiet, honest, and restrained intervention, extension, and outbuilding.

When we carried out our first site visit to Cuddymoss with our client, only four external stone walls, a concrete slab, two brick walls for separating cattle and a single internal stone wall remained. The roof had collapsed in several years before and the interior of the ruin was full of debris. The ruin had existed for over two hundred years, it would have provided shelter for people in one end of the building and animals in the other. It had most recently been used as a cow byre.

Every part of the existing ruin was measured and documented. A set of drawings and diagrams were produced illustrating the evolution of the structure from its original condition in the early 1800’s, through several iterations, until the most recent structural alterations incorporating Ayrshire brick.

A concept of an ‘intervention within the ruin’ was developed. This explored inserting a timber frame building within the existing stone structure, allowing the windows to be set back from the original stone openings, creating deep reveals, and visually creating two entities – the new and the old.

Existing ‘infilled openings’ were re-opened, with only one new opening being formed and located in the front elevation with a thin aluminium projecting frame and frameless glass. The stone and brick elevations were gently re-pointed and repaired.

A second building form is located perpendicular to the existing ruin. A retaining wall was introduced along the east elevation, nestling the building into the landscape.  

A simple glass link, routed into the stone wall creates a very simple connection between the new building and the stone ruin. Providing a pause space and a point to view both the external walls and the wider Ayrshire landscape.

A utilitarian outbuilding located to the east of the site completes the cluster.

A ground source heat pump and MVHR are employed for heating and ventilation, and water is supplied via a private borehole. A fabric first approach was followed to produce a well insulated building with triple glazed windows throughout.

Key Information

Area: 170sqm – Completion: Staged completion – Client: Private

“The project has benefitted from a collaborative approach, with the client fully embracing the importance of carefully selected materials, even finding old bricks for re-use in the project. Ann Nisbet Studio have demonstrated an approach to retrofit of the highest quality, with an understanding the importance of adaptability, deconstructability, and use of natural, healthy materials in design.”

RIAS Judging Panel


Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2023

Dezeen Award-Longlist 2023
RIBA House of the Year-Longlist 2023
RIBA National Award 2023
RIAS Award for Architecture 2023
RIAS Circular Economy Design Award (Sponsored By Zero Waste Scotland)
GIA Design Residential Award 2022
GIA Design Sustainability Award 2022 – Finalist


Wallpaper Magazine November 2023
Grand Designs Magazine May/June 2023
Homes and Interiors Magazine Aug/Sept 2023

Photographs: David Barbour

Altarf: Micro-Home, Isle of Skye

Mobile House: Isle of Skye. 

Located on the Isle of Skye, this mobile micro home prototype was developed as a low cost, thermally efficient, mobile house, designed for the rural landscape.

The Client’s initial brief was for a ‘small but not tiny’ permanent house.. However, after discovering that the ground conditions on the site were poor and would not support traditional foundations, a ‘mobile house’ concept was developed.

The house contains three main spaces, which are open to the apex, to provide a feeling of space, light and height. Each is divided by a deep storage wall, containing storage or other functions. The three spaces flow together, creating a greater feeling of space and light throughout the building.

A kitchen and living space with a small stove  is located centrally, with a shower room and bedroom located at the gable ends. The internal walls and ceilings are clad in birch faced ply. The floors are finished in a dark grey rubber flooring.

Externally, the building is clad in a mixture of black standing seam zinc and untreated Siberian larch cladding. These materials are commonly found within the rural landscape. Both external and internal materials were considered in terms of longevity, re-use, maintenance and environmental impact.

The house was constructed off site with 15 miles of the site.  Once complete, the building was transported across the Skye landscape, to the site and lifted into position.

A traditional dry-stane wall was built along the edge of the site, grounding the new building into the landscape.

In the future the building can be removed from site and travel to a new location, where its narrative will continue.

Photographs: David Barbour

Area: 30m²    Completion: Autumn 2019・ Client: Private

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Pollokshields: Renovation and Zinc Extension

Pollokshields: Villa Renovation

A renovation and extension to a ground floor villa apartment in the Pollokshields Conservation area.

Located in the ground floor of a converted sandstone villa within the Polloksheilds’ Conservation Area, this project created a light, open plan kitchen forming a new central hub of a family home This was achieved by readjusting the focus from the front shared garden to the private rear garden and re-planning the internal circulation through out the ground floor. The new full height zinc dormer creates a modern intervention between the two-storey villa and the former utilitarian building to the rear, bringing in much need light into the kitchen and forming a new connection to the garden.

The low ceiling in the kitchen was removed, opening the space up to the apex, a new roof light was added to bring further light into the rear of the kitchen. Work included insulating the walls, floor and ceiling of the new space and constructing a new acoustic and fire separation wall between the existing house and neighbouring property.

The material palette both internally and externally was kept simple and robust.

Photographs: David Barbour

Area: 50m²    Completion: Summer 2018・ Client: Private

Press (Selected):

Home Building and Renovating Magazine

Homes and Interiors Scotland Magazine


GIA Small Project Award 2019: Highly Commended

Kerrera Community Hub

We were appointed by the Isle of Kerrera Development Trust to produce a detailed Feasibility study and business plan investigating purchasing and converting the former school on the island to a much needed Community space.  The proposals include the renovation of the existing school building, a new auxiliary building to provide office and workshop space and a modern bothy for artist residencies.

We are delighted that The Scottish Fund Fund has awarded full funding for the Community of Kerrera to purchase the school building from Argyll and Bute Council. IKDT have already carried out a number of work stages relating to the renovation and conversion of the building. We look forward to seeing the project completed.

Garden House: Dumfries

Garden House: Dumfries

Located in the clients existing mature garden, the new house is formed from four brick clad volumes, which create private garden spaces and courtyards in the ‘in between’ spaces.

Our client’s were looking to down size from their existing home, which had an extensive garden. It was proposed to locate a new modern house within the mature garden. The house was to be bright and light, capturesviews of the garden but retained the clients privacy and avoided over looking of the neighbouring property.

The main public rooms are formed around a three sided courtyard, which provides a private and sheltered outdoor garden space, with the bedrooms located in the two storey element at the rear.

Area 175sm Completed: January 2022  Private: Client

Bantaskin Street, Glasgow

Plot 3 Bantaskin Street

Ann Nisbet Studio were appointed by a private client to prepare design proposals for a two bedroom home as part of the Bantaskin Street Self Build Pilot. Glasgow City Council are undertaking a ‘self build’ pilot project adjacent to the Forth and Clyde Canal Locks in Maryhill, Glasgow.  The city hope to adopt this approach to various brownfield and vacant sites around the city.

The two storey building references the former metal industrial sheds, which were located along and around this area of the canal. A simple two storey, long and linear form with a pitched roof was developed. The house is clad in black corrugated aluminum sheets on both the walls and roof, which forms a simple silhouette.

A fabric first approach was adopted. Large areas of glazing were designed for passive solar gain. High levels of insulation and triple glazed windows are used in the building fabric. An air source heat pump and waste water heat recovery system have also been incorporated into the design.

Size: 95sqm  Client: Private Stage 0 – 4 


Bantaskin Project: Shortlisted for RTPI Planning Award

Dundashill Custom Build Housing

In 2018, Ann Nisbet Studio were invited by Igloo Regeneration, along with five other Glasgow architecture practices, to design a terrace house for a proposed development in Dundashill, in the north of Glasgow.

The proposal was for a custom build housing solution for the Dundashill area, in partnership with Scottish Canals, Igloo Regeneration and CCG, with off-site production and construction by CCG.

Ann Nisbet Studio are now on site with 35 terrace houses for Igloo Regeneration, with the first houses due for handover in January 2024.

Coastal Tidal Pools: Reuse

Ann Nisbet Studio were asked to take part in the Architectural Fringe Festival’s Re Types Exhibition and explore adaptive re-purposing of an imagined existing building or structureThe studio’s project explores ideas relating to rejuvenating and re purposing Scotland’s abandoned coastal swimming pools and comments on local democracy, land ownership, social isolation and collective bathing.

Date Completed: May 2019  Client: ArchiFringe

Newhouse of Auchengree

rural design farm house

Contemporary farmbuilding and steading in ayrshire

New House of Auchengree North Ayrshire

Rural Design: Contemporary Farm House, North Ayrshire

Newhouse of Auchengree: North Ayrshire

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.In 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.

The 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.

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.

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Columbkille, Isle of Arran

New Rural House Isle of Arran

New House location in stone ruins

Architect designed rural house Arran

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New House on Arran

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Columbkille: 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 narrative of the former buildings in a contemporary way.

Due to Commence on site: February 2020   Client: Private

The Ghost of Water Row, Govan

Ghost of Water Row Govan RIAS Winner

Ghost of Water Row Govan RIAS Winner

Ghost of Water Row Govan RIAS Winner

The Ghost of Water Row, Govan

Blurring the boundary between architecture and research-based, site-specific art, the Ghost of Water Row is an example of architecture’s capacity to provide cultural and historical commentary.  On 5 November 2012, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Govan joining Glasgow, the Ghost of Water Row stood for one night on the footprint of houses that once flanked the old route to the river.  The project celebrated the historical importance of Water Row in terms of Govan’s links to the river through its form, while also referencing its past industry in its fabric.  At the ghost and at related events held on that night including film and procession, visitors engaged with the past and were challenged to think about the evolving built environment of Govan and their own sense of identity in relation to the place.

The Ghost is a distillation of four buildings that sat on Water Row between 1700 and 1912.  It draws upon the proportions and nature of what was the Ferry Inn and weavers cottages.  Water Row consisted of a number of such buildings which sat in a gentle relationship to what was first a natural crossing or fording point of the river and later a sandstone slipway, now buried, offering flush access to the water. It was designed to appear in the dark and disappear in the daylight.  The temporary pavilion is made of pale Scottish spruce and patterned lace of pure cotton; the latter reflecting a time when Govan was dominated by the weaving industry.  Govan’s hand loom weavers ceased in early 1900 to make way for shipbuilding.  The pattern of the lace on the Ghost was taken from Flemish trade on the River Clyde.  It is known as “Guirlandes” (garlands). The pattern was moved from hand looming to mechanised looming and remains in production by MYB textiles in Ayrshire.

The Ghost of Water Row was built as part of a community engagement project and coincided with commemorative celebrations for the late Glaswegian sculptor George Wylie.   100 visitors participated in a lantern procession which was intended to evoke the ancient route to the river and the crossing.  The visitors were led behind a question mark made by George Wylie from Govan Old church to the ghost, whereupon  the ghost was used as a heritage engagement tool.  (Wylie’s public artworks made statements and asked questions about the past and future of Clydeside, so his symbol was seen to be a fitting banner for the evening’s events.)

The project won a prestigious RIAS Architecture Award and has been shortlisted for the Arts and Business Scotland Awards and Andrew Doolan Prize.

Lesley Riddoch commented, “I suspect we have just witnessed the controversial award of the night. As I understand it this project was initiated by the architects and has helped unite its community. In my view that’s one of the things architects are uniquely placed to do. I suspect that is what prompted the judges to recognise this extraordinary project.”

The project was developed in collaboration with Andrew McAvoy of through the firm of Edo Architecture, other collaborators included Joshua Brown, MYB Textiles and Fablevision. The project was generously supported by BSW Timber and Arts and Business Scotland.

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Rural Barn House: Lochaber, Highlands

Rural Barn House_Lochaber_Highlands

Contemporary Rural House_Highlands

Rural Barn House

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Rural Barn House

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.

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.

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

Area 160sqm   Due to Commence on site: Autumn 2020   Client: Private

Locheil House: Lochaber




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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.

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.

Marchhall - 2 bw


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

020311PatriciaCain_021Propping Through Riverside - Kelvingrove


Propping Through Riverside Installation

(C) Ann Nisbet

(C) Ann Nisbet