Moxon Architects | Crathie, Scotland 2017 - 2020

Winner RIBA National Award 2022
Winner RIAS Award 2022
Winner Civic Trust Award 2022
Project of the Year ASA Awards 2022
Winner American Institute of Architects UK Award 2021
Winner Architects' Journal Award 2021
Winner Scottish Design Award 2021
Finalist BCIA Commercial Project of the Year 2021

"This is a charming and highly intelligent project, set in harmony with its beautiful highlands environment. The elegant architecture is well resolved and results in an idyllic workplace and an attractive public destination, with the addition of a cafe bringing year-round activity. The recipe of locally-sourced materials, in particular Douglas Fir served several different ways, offers a confident and characterful touch to a project where the challenges of being a combined client, designer and contractor were ultimately resolved into a singular gem of a building." BCIA Jury Citation

Moxon Architects Scottish headquarters is a low-lying building sited in a former quarry, surrounded by a heavily wooded Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. Anchored around two concrete monoliths, the principal studio and café buildings of Quarry Studio represent the private and public aspects of practice: encouraging collaboration and concentration. Tucked into the bowl of the quarry with the roofline set parallel to the escarpment edge above, the mono-pitch roof to the front of each volume matches the side slopes of the quarry and presents a single-storey covered colonnade towards the centre of the site.

Each internal space has an external counterpart with related characteristics; by turns introverted, expansive, shaded, private or publicly accessible depending on its function. For example, a private office combines with a partial courtyard planted with native shade tolerant species while clerestory glazing connects the studio with its roof terrace, bringing north light deep into the plan and providing views to the top of the quarry bowl and the dramatically elevated surrounding treeline.

After its original use as a quarry the site was used for several decades as a tip. The project therefore involved the rehabilitation of the landscape surrounding the studio: the safe removal of material; protection of self-seeded silver birch; regrading and modelling of the landform to tie in with the surroundings and the planting of native seedlings and young trees, while the roof of the studio directs rainwater into a new bog and wetland area in the centre.

Reflecting an emphasis on longevity, durability and energy consumption in use, the envelope is highly insulated with space and water heating for all parts provided by a Ground Source Heat Pump whose borehole goes 250m down into cairngorms granite.

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