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A Contemporary Home Inside 18th Century Ruins

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To honor the rich architectural history of an 18th-century Scottish farmhouse, a home has been built within what’s left of the existing stone walls. Designed by Lily Jencks Studio and Nathanael Dorent Architecture, the 200-year old ruins now act as the frame for ‘Ruins Studio’ – a futuristic home.

To emphasize the narrative of time associated with the ruin, three layers that all reflect different architectural expressions form the structure of the house. The first layer is the existing stone walls. Sitting inside the walls is the second layer – the black EPDM rubber-clad pitched-roof ‘envelope’. The third layer is an interior curvilinear ‘tube’ wall system, made of insulating recycled polystyrene blocks within a gridded wood structure covered in glass reinforced plastic. The envelope is highly insulated, and the home is solar-powered; with an abundance of skylights and light interior finishes, even on a dark day, electric lighting is not needed until sundown. Due to the random erosion of the stone walls, the three layers have been designed to mold into one another, the architects explain, “These three layers are not designed as independent parts, rather, they take on meaning as their relationship evolves through the building’s sections. They separate, come together, and intertwine, creating a series of architectural singularities, revealing a simultaneous reading of time and space.” Inside, the tube’s non-linear surfaces guide the inhabitants through from the kitchen to the study, sitting, and dining room, offering a dynamic, sensory experience. At both ends of the house, rooms which are detached from the tube act as the bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage. With placement dictated by the existing ruins, large windows and doors offer magnificent views that stretch for more than 50 miles across the surrounding Scottish valleys.

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All images © Sergio Pirrone