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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

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

The Hill House is one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpieces and a seminal piece of early 20th century European architecture. But over time it has suffered gradual water ingress, the remediation of which will take up to 10 years. A big-box temporary museum has been built to protect the house as an ‘artefact’. This is allowing it to dry out while maintaining public access to the historic interiors and enabling visitors to see the conservation process first-hand. Formed of stainless steel chainmail mesh, the cross-braced steel box reduces rain penetration, allows airflow to help the building to breathe and dry naturally and provides sufficient light for trees to grow within it. Along with its timber standalone reception/café building, this elegant enclosure not only allows uninterrupted views of Mackintosh’s icon but provides the public with a remarkable experience of conservation in progress.

  • 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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