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The Hill House Box, Helensburgh

A big-box temporary museum protects the house as an ‘artefact'

The Hill House Box.
The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin

RIAS National Award winner 2021
RIAS Scottish Award winner 2021


Carmody Groarke for National Trust for Scotland
Contract value: £3.2m
GIA: 1,660m2 Cost per m2: £1,927

This radical approach to conservation is protecting Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s grade A-listed masterpiece from imminent collapse due to prolonged water damage. The temporary structure that envelops the house also contains visitor facilities, including a reception, café and toilets, that previously were uncomfortably located in the house itself.

The demountable steel structure and walkway provide a sheltering environment for the building to dry out – an integral part of a remediation process that will take up to 10 years. A stainless steel mesh allows airflow and sufficient light for trees to grow within it. The Box gives visitors the opportunity to see the building and its conservation at close quarters, while also attracting under-represented groups and young people to enjoy a very different experience of the historic building and gardens

  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
  • The Hill House Box.
    The Hill House Box. Credit: Johan Dehlin
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This project is demonstrably successful, both in terms of reducing the dampness, and also in attracting many more people to visit the building. It is a daring and unconventional approach that has solved a very difficult problem.


See the rest of the RIAS Scottish winners here

And all the RIBA Regional Awards here

See other RIBA National Awards 2021 winners, Culture, here

 

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