Ann Nisbet Studio’s Newhouse of Auchengree, set within the Garnock Valley between Dalry and Beith in North Ayrshire, draws on the aesthetic of local historic farm buildings. The contemporary farmhouse, commanding long views from its site on a windswept plateau, comprises a cluster of separate spaces, reflecting the manner in which the rural buildings have been extended over the years.
The cluster is arranged to provide shelter from the south-westerly winds, and in so doing, a captivating arrival sequence, from the long uphill drive set on axis with a pend that first frames a view to the sky, to the entrance court. The composition, which mediates between the scale of the wider landscape and the intimate scale of the dwelling, is arranged around a three-sided courtyard to the east and a sheltered terrace to the south-west. The main public spaces and bedrooms are contained within a two-storey section with the master bedroom in a linear single-storey area and an annex, accessed via the courtyard, offering two more bedrooms.
Large barn doors provide privacy and security as well as protecting an indoor/outdoor space that is useable even in the most severe weather. The main house, the single-storey building and outbuilding open off this courtyard, which receives morning and afternoon light. The buildings are connected by a route that runs from the north to south, connecting the external and internal courtyards, the outbuilding and the orchard.
The external zinc cladding reflects the light and cloud patterns of the setting while referencing the local rural agricultural buildings and the steel and iron foundries that were once located in the Garnock Valley. This was one of the first ‘single houses in the countryside’ to gain consent under North Ayrshire’s new planning guidelines.