We are very pleased to announce that our School House Renovation project has been selected as one of the 100 Best Residential Architecture Projects in Scotland of the past 20 years.
The project was selected by the RIAS and featured in their book “2020 Visions: Home: Housing Scotland 2000-2020” which forms part of the Festival of Architecture 2017.
This book features homes and housing developments built since the year 2000 alongside a small selection of works in progress which will be completed by 2020. From throughout Scotland these projects represent the very best domestic architecture from an era when Scottish architects have excelled at all scales, from modest extensions to large urban masterplans.
The one hundred projects featured in the book represent diverse responses to one of architecture’s greatest challenges, our homes. These are approaches to housing and individual homes form a confident generation of architects. From crisp modernity to the contemporary reinvention of vernacular forms, modest island dwellings to reinterpretations of the Scottish tenement, the breadth of approach is as impressive as the quality is consistent.
As the RIAS’ president, Stewart Henderson, comments in this introduction,
“The one hundred houses and housing developments which make up this volume are as good a demonstration as any of the contribution architecture can make to improving people’s lives. All of these buildings, whether already built or about to be, are among the best in Scotland from the first twenty years of this century.”
2017 is proving to be a very busy year already and since January we have begun a number of new renovations which are currently in the initial design stage. Included here are three brief examples to showcase some of the different projects that we have been working on. They include the remodelling of the Falkland Library, a refurbishment of an old fisherman’s cottage (overlooking the picturesque Pittenweem beach) and renovation of a Byre conversion in Perthshire.
OLD BYRE RENOVATION
Fife Architects have been working closely with the client to develop a renovation of their family home. The house is an old byre conversion located in rural Perthshire with views of the surrounding hills, fields and forests. The key design goal was to improve the clarity of the plan, which would allow for better circulation and visual connectivity throughout the building. Walls were removed allowing for visual connections between the courtyard and the garden, as well as increasing the size of the remodelled living room giving it more importance within the home. An external timber porch and boot-room will be added to the front, which will blend into the veranda which runs around to the rear of the building.
The ground floor will consist of a large kitchen, boot-room, living room, 2 bedrooms, an ensuite, 1 main bathroom and a utility room, whilst the upper floor will consist of two large bedrooms with ensuite and a mezzanine overlooking the main living space. The materiality will respect the building and its context, blending into the setting.
LISTED LIBRARY REFURBISHMENT
We have developed options to develop and renovate Falkland Library and save it from closure. Together with local community groups the library will now be managed by Falkland Community Hall Trust and is expected to reopen in the summer. The main task of the design is to improve the layout and functioning of the library. The proposal sets out to increase book, desk and reading spaces by removing the partitions, remodel the reading spaces, relocate the main desk to beside the entrance and keep an open plan layout within the main library.
The corridor and store cupboard will be removed allowing for increased library floor space which can serve a s flexible meeting and gallery space. The main desk will be placed by the entrance allowing for more control over access to the building, as well as improving service. The books will mainly be arranged along the wall, allowing for the floor space to be taken by other necessary library items: sofas, e-reading desks.
FISHERMAN’S BEACH COTTAGE CONVERSION
Fife Architects were asked to prepare an initial design for a renovation of an old fisherman’s cottage overlooking Pittenweem beach. The split level building consisted of the original house and a two storey extension to the rear. The brief was to remodel and improve the layout, turning the building into a luxurious holiday home.
The basic layout of the existing building was to remain, but the renovation involved walls being shifted and removed to create an open, light and transparent space. The level change would be made more fluid, improving circulation. The upper floor was not in need of remodelling, but an internal connection with the basement level was to be created, allowing for an additional large room within the property.
All storeys were to be connected by as transparent a staircase as possible, allowing light and views through. The materials chosen for the renovated rooms were a mix of plaster, timber, glass and brick, the latter of which accentuates any of the irregular walls within the design.
We are still in a celebratory mood after winning the award for ‘Best Small Project’ at this year’s Dundee Institute of Architects Design Awards for our Easter Fernie School House renovation near Cupar. The schoolhouse ‘eco-renovation’ saw the refurbishment and improvement of an old schoolhouse into a new modern, environmentally friendly and ‘near-off grid’ home. The project presented us with many (mostly enjoyable) challenges along the way, and we are happy to say it was a great success.
We were also very pleased to find out that five of our other project submissions for the awards were shortlisted the same night.
The Shortlisted Projects
The other projects shortlisted included House at Markinch also in Best Small Project category which saw the renovation and extension of a dated fifties bungalow. Waterside Cottage in St Monans, shortlisted for Best Rehab/Rejuvenation category, involved the sensitive restoration and extension of a C listed wash house on the shores of St Monan’s. Cobblestones in Falkland, a B listed cottage renovation and extension in the heart of Falkland was also shortlisted in the Best Rehab/Rejuvenation category – this project included an oak frame extension with a green roof and the comprehensive renovation of the entire cottage, creating more light and greatly improved energy efficiency. We also had two projects shortlisted in the ‘On the Drawing Board’ category: Iron Mill Bay House – a new build house inspired by the derelict remains of an iron foundry, overlooking the Forth with an industrial meets rural design concept and The Doocot – the conversion of a former Doocot into a luxury one bedroom self catering house.
This marks a great achievement for our young practice and the end of a very busy year for the team. Of course none of this would be possible without our lovely clients so a big thank you to them too!
Easter Fernie Schoolhouse - DIA Design Award 2016 Winner!
Best Small Project (less £250K)
We are delighted to be featured in Living Magazine’s autumn issue published by DC Thomson. The article features our Millring Conversion project near Pittenweem in Fife. Designed and managed by partner architect Lucy Beltran, the article briefly describes the challenges faced during the conversion of this historic mill ring steading into a luxury 5 bedroom house.
“The overall design is all about stone, wood and glass – it is a building that appeals to the senses. Even the eclectic and tasteful finishes are used sparingly but to great effect, allowing the structure to speak for itself.”
Fife Architects inherited the project from local architect Svein Mjeldheim at the detail design stage and later worked closely with the client and contractor on site during the construction phase to deliver the finished product. The Millring House project was unique in many ways and as one can imagine, it presented the architect with many design challenges which hadn’t been worked out at the early design stages of the project. For instance, the architect had to find a sensible way to insulate the mill ring roof while leaving it’s unique umbrella structure intact and still visible (the solution was to build a new roof, like a second skin on top of the existing one).
The mill ring is a traditional rural building used primarily to grind various grains using horse power. The horse would have been walked around a central shaft pulling a large quern that would crush the grains in the adjacent barn. The ‘rotunda’ space traditionally used by the horses has now become a spacious main living room with large frameless glass windows looking over the garden and surrounding countryside. The threshing barn is now a light filled dining room linked directly to the kitchen and has a mezzanine that is accessed from the upper floor and is used as a study.
The house needed a flexible design complete with a bedroom and carer’s accommodation on the ground floor. To link these rooms to the hall and living room, a frameless glass corridor was created. Sally MacDonald who has written the feature describes how:
“The corridor, with its lean-to roof, also features steel pillars which support untreated Douglas fir lintels. Both the steel and the wood were sourced from the estate, enhancing the building’s integrity.”
Living Magazine is quarterly magazine designed for people living and working in the Tay & Forth region and is being delivered directly to homes in the area right now. Get out there and try to find yourself a copy!
We have exciting news to share //
Our new house design for a site in Fife has received full planning permission. The new family home will be situated on a coastal site just outside Charlestown near Dunfermline.
The site is on the shoreline of the Firth of Forth and formerly part of the Elgin Estate the site is bordered with woodland where the remains of the Iron Mill Foundry on the Lyne Burn still stand. The derelict remains of the former Foundry cottage lie in the middle of the site and to the South East is a disused railway line. The project brief was to design a family home with an Industrial meets Rural design concept.
A whole house design
The new house design is for a two storey, five bedroom, home with a floor area of 220m sq. The design and materials are strongly influenced by the site’s past from the saw tooth factory style roof profile to the weathered steel cladding. The house has a t- shaped floor plan and is orientated to maximise views across the Forth and natural daylight. At the heart of the house is a large brick double height public space with factory style windows, a gallery style landing and bridge to the master bedroom suite. A cylindrical sandstone stair tower references the tower of the old Foundry. Weathered steel cladding at the ground floor, celebrates the history of iron at the site. Timber clad bedroom accommodation at the first floor with a saw tooth profile reflect the industrial style.
It was important to our clients to create a home that will perform as efficiently as possible in terms of energy and impact on the environment so a combination of renewable technologies will be used including an air source heat pump, rainwater harvesting system, solar panels, domestic electric batteries, high levels of insulation and sourcing of local materials and using reclaimed materials where ever possible.
We have several new projects on the go focusing on practical house renovation ideas and modern home extensions. The projects are all in the initial design stage and include a ground floor house renovation and extension in Elie, a timber clad extension of an artist’s cottage in Pittenweem and a whole house renovation of a ‘very big’ 80’s bungalow near Cupar. Below is a short description of each project along with a selection of the proposed house floor plans and renderings to give you a taste of what we’ve been up to over the past few weeks. read more…
Happy New Year to you all…2016 is shaping up to be a busy and challenging year here at Fife Architects in a good way! Fired up with ‘January oomph’ we are currently working on a new build house at an unusual plot nestled on the shores of the Forth, south of Dunfermline. Located close to a derelict iron foundry with a notable industrial past, the foundry ruin is providing us with inspiration for the design of a new 5 bedroom home. This now seemingly rural spot in Fife was once the centre of an industry leading the way in the Scottish industrial revolution. The foundry dates back to 1795 and was run by the Elgin estate for decades, with the pig iron and lime used in the smelting process mined directly from the surrounding estate. The history of the foundry is sketchy but it is known that it was particularly famous for it’s anchors and also produced goods for the railway, ships and pits, which were shipped worldwide from the harbour. We show here some pictures of the derelict Ironworks and look forward to sharing more on this project later on in the year. read more…
We have news on two current residential projects: the first an oak frame extension with internal alterations to a B listed property in the picturesque village of Falkland and the second, the complete renovation and extension of a former school house set in rolling countryside just outside Cupar, Fife. It is always exciting to see a build taking shape after what can seem like a long time in the design and planning stages and these projects are no exception.
Below are site pictures of both projects in progress – including the odd shot of the contractors and their teams hard at work! When the oak frame extension in Falkland is finished it will have a living roof sown with wild flowers and grasses visible from the first floor bedroom as well as through the lantern roof light which it is planted around. The facias, flashings and sills of the extension are all made from copper complementing the natural tones of the oak, these will weather over time to a dull greenish/blue colour. A new kitchen and utility are being installed and the living room will feature exposed sandstone walls and a wood burner. (more…)
We have two lots of good news to share with you in this post. Firstly, we were excited to hear that we are finalists in the Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2015 Best Renovation/Conversion category announced just last week. The awards were started in 2007 and aim to honour the achievements of Scotland’s most innovative and successful house builders, developers and registered social landlords. Our project is one we completed in Markinch, Fife earlier this year. The house, a fifties bungalow, was designed by our client’s father who was an engineer. The brief was to renovate the house and future proof it by making it totally accessible. This included creating a new easy access entrance from the driveway into the house, enlarging the living room and kitchen with access onto a new terrace, adding an ensuite wet room and creating an additional bedroom with en-suite and second living room in the attic.
The house has a large established garden and the new frameless glass window in the living room provides wonderful elevated views over it. Inside a curved ceiling was designed to swoosh up to the new window creating a seamless join between the existing building and new extension. A recessed electric blind provides solar shading and privacy without obstructing the expanse of glass. Double doors open on to the terrace and a ramp with a steel and glass balustrade provides access down into the garden.
Our second bit of good news is that the same project has been featured in the October issue of Real Homes magazine in their Special feature on how to extend your home and it is on the shelves available to buy now. The results of the Herald Property awards will be announced on Thursday 24th September at an evening do at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow – we’ll keep you posted! Included here are some pictures of the project and of the Real Homes magazine feature. read more…
We are pleased to see one of projects House In The Woods – a kitchen dining extension in rural Fife – featured in the current issue of Real Homes Magazine (August issue) in their 6 page style guide to timber clad extensions. We were commissioned by the owners to design a pair of timber clad extensions, one at the front providing a much needed porch with external bench and the featured kitchen diner extension with bi-fold doors providing direct access on to the beautiful gardens. Painted Scottish Larch was used for the cladding as the property is positioned next to mature woodland and the owners were keen to use natural materials. The colour was matched to lichen growing on the pan tiled roof. This project was also shortlisted for a RIAS award 2014.