Communicative Solitude: Architecture Studio in Scotland
Client and Architects: Moxon Architects
Structural engineering: Graeme Craig
Location: Quarry Studios, Crathie, Aberdeenshire AB35 5UL (GB)
The village of Crathie, which is situated in Scotland’s Cairngorm National Park, should be known to tourists thanks to its main attraction: the nearby Balmoral Castle, summer residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Not too far from here, Moxon Architects have erected a new building for their Scottish branch office − in a former quarry that had been misused as a garbage dump. Little of this can be seen today: the architects have painstakingly set their single-storey, shed-roofed new structure among the young birches on the grounds. Two exposed-concrete chimneys anchor the new building symbolically to the area and bring the required thermal mass into the structure, whose construction is otherwise based on a skeleton combining wood and steel. Partition walls of layered, 20x20-cm Douglas-fir beams arranged to allow visibility zone spaces which otherwise open up generously to the outdoors. To the valley side, covered verandahs with black steel supports provide access to the building complex. Facing the slope, the architects have allocated smaller, more private outdoor areas to the offices. The flat roof features a terrace reached via an exterior stairway. The Tàrmachan Café, which is connected to the office spaces via the verandah, will be open to the public six days a week as soon as covid restrictions allow. In order to ensure climate-friendly heating in the building, the architects have installed a geothermal heat pump whose probe reaches 250 m down into the granite of the Cairngorms.