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An Office and Two Houses, Inverness

Words:
RIAS Jury

Loader Monteith makes a tranquil haven for cycle enthusiasts – despite an adjacent busy road – on a site with homes for the clients, a bike storage hub and office, winning it a 2024 RIAS Award

An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide

2024 RIAS Awards

An Office and Two Houses, Inverness 
Loader Monteith for H&I Adventures 
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 145 (office) and 130 (houses) m2

An Office and Two Houses is a new, mixed-use, brownfield development for international mountain bike tour operator H&I Adventures. Located on the outskirts of Inverness, the project comprises an office, client reception and bike storage hub along with residential accommodation for the owners. Architect Loader Monteith rose to the challenge of transforming a long and narrow site adjacent to a busy commuter road and train line into a tranquil haven for cycle enthusiasts.

The practice’s coherent masterplan for the site connects the buildings across the landscape and yet allows careful separation of the commercial and residential buildings. The structures are carefully positioned and designed to provide a robust edge to the road, protecting a more open and transparent face to the south. An open courtyard connects the two buildings. These make good use of the topography with the smaller, single-storey house sitting higher on the slope and the larger two-storey office providing an anchor at the bottom.

  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
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The house follows a Z-shaped plan with the entrance in the middle providing direct access to the public areas, which include an open plan kitchen overlooking a generous living area.  Custom joinery includes built-in furniture providing ample storage while maintaining clean surface lines. The light and exceptionally well-ordered interior is uplifting and calming and the views to the landscape beyond provide a continual connection between inside and out.

The office and bike storage area engage with the courtyard, which becomes a place of activity and excitement when customers gather for pre-tour briefings. There is a strong connection between the buildings and the landscape, and the careful use of large windows in key places allows reception areas in the building to connect with external activity.  The office area is carefully positioned on the upper floor, which is generally not accessed by customers, and from this elevated position staff can enjoy expansive views over the estuary while passively policing the external courtyard. 

  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
  • An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
    An Office and Two Houses. Credit: Henry Woide
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Both buildings are constructed in timber frame and have been designed to have high thermal performance with minimal use of steel to reduce embodied carbon. The result is two highly efficient buildings.  Their simplicity is deceptive and reflects the thoughtful planning and attention to detail of the building fabric. Careful installation of  hand-charred timber cladding, which provides a characterful facade, is testament to the dedication of the contractor.

The jury was impressed by how the architect has clearly worked very closely with the client to achieve its customised home and business premises, as well as communicating very effectively with the contractor, who has delivered an exemplar set of timber-framed and clad buildings.

See the rest of the RIAS winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

Credits

Contractor Aspen
Structural engineer Adam Hemmings Structural Solutions

Credit: Loader Monteith
Credit: Loader Monteith
Credit: Loader Monteith

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