The Best House in the UK: Lochside House

Designed by HaysomWardMiller Architects, Lochside House in Scotland’s West Highland has won the prestigious RIBA House of the Year 2018 award. We look at why the project beat its competition to the top spot

Nestled on the edge of a Scottish lake in the West Highlands, Lochside House is an unassuming project consisting of three buildings. Designed to echo the mountainous backdrop, it has received acclaim for effectively integrating with the surrounding landscape. 

Built from burnt Scottish larch and surrounded by a dry stone wall, its use of local, unassuming materials has attracted praise. “Lochside House is truly breathtaking. By containing its scale, sensitively positioning the crop of buildings on a promontory around established trees, and making use of local materials, HaysomWardMiller have created a home which perfectly responds to its exposed, unique location,” said RIBA President Ben Derbyshire.

Located in a remote area, the building is entirely off-grid, with all energy coming from an array of roof-mounted solar panels. Water is also supplied through a borehole. “With a highly sustainable, off-grid approach to energy and water, it leaves the surrounding environment as undisturbed as possible,” explained Derbyshire.  

Images courtesy of Adam Bennett

Inside the combination of subtle materials and large picture windows place focus on the dramatic views of the surrounding area. The buildings’ walls are lined in white oiled timber, while other surfaces are coated in textured plaster. “Inside, the spaces merge with the artist owner's art collection, and there is an overwhelming sense of comfort, warmth and homeliness,” added architect Takero Shimazaki, Chair of the 2018 RIBA House of the Year jury.

Beating six other schemes to the award, HaysomWardMiller Architects’ design has been hailed as a model for subtle yet highly effective house design. “Lochside House is a well-designed home that is an example of humble, grounded, contextual yet powerful architecture that people can aspire to and be inspired by,” said Shimazaki.