Monolithic Design

Moxon Architects’ Culardoch Shieling is a mountain hut in Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. Capturing the company’s design process –considering economic responsibility, environmental awareness and spatial elegance – the hut also combines 20th century modernism. Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier can be seen in the windows, stripped-back asymmetry acting as a guide for the entire project. Measuring 47m2, the structure is a contemporary re-imagining of traditional Scottish shepherds’ huts that also recalls the design of Swiss Alpine shacks – marrying two identities and merging Scandinavian minimalism with the textural consideration of the highlands.

Traditional materials like timber and other types of wood are seeing a resurgence in production, with manufacture contributing to zero-emission housing and sustainable outlooks for life. With a rise in Scandinavian ideals and minimalist aesthetics – one example being the movement of Hygge – companies are looking towards outwards towards monolithic constructions that combine functionality, adaptability and geometric solutions.

Further to this, architects are also looking to highlight surrounding landscapes, using the elemental aspect of the topography to influence the textural and materialistic aspects of structures. The Culardoch Shieling hut is no different; it maximises the views of the natural highlands, whilst ensuring that the all-wood building has minimal impact on the terrain, comprising a curved timber with a roof covered in the heather, moss and stone reflective of the organisms residing within the park. Camouflaging the hut from above, it becomes part of a wider symbiotic relationship with the wildlife.

As Ben Addy of Moxon states: “The hut was commissioned as an escape. Our design strives to be humble and humane but it is also precise, playful and sophisticated.”

For more information:

1. Culardoch Shieling © Moxon Architects.