Architecture practice based in Scotland
November 2020
Scottish Vernacular

        From the vernacular typologies of the blackhouses of the Hebrides and the Highlands, to the fishing activities and communities along the east coast. The blackhouses are especially interesting as they date back thousands of years - housing people and their livestock under a single thatched roof, separated by a partition; placing value on the animals welfare as a source of sustaining life.

Fish and meat were hung from the ceiling of the single storey blackhouses and the fire was nearly always lit, often fuelled by peat. The smoke would fill the house where it would rise and linger within the roof, preserving the food overhead before slowly making it’s way out of the front door. These roofs were the most valuable element to the blackhouses and their wooden rafters and thatched roofing with stone ties would be taken off and moved with the family who lived there, often leaving nothing but the stone wall behind. The lack of a chimney meant the smoke became a feature within the home, something you had no choice but to interact with; present and almost tactile in it’s existence as it ebbs it’s way through the house, blackening the interior as it goes. Many of these buildings have been lost to the elements over time. Once they begin to deteriorate, if not cared for, they’re reduced quite quickly to a mass of stones, as though a family had recently left and taken their roof with them; leaving nothing but a stone footprint as a mark of a life once lived. Which in some ways can be considered the natural order of things at is makes room for the new, the inspired and the critically considered ways of living which might follow.

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