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Emerging from the contours of an elevated and exposed Dumfriesshire hillside in Scotland, The Houl is not only a fine contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Scottish 'longhouse' but also a net zero carbon dwelling that doesn't wear its progressive eco credentials too visibly on its sleeve.

Designed as a single storey family home by (and for) Simon Winstanley of Castle Douglas based-Simon Winstanley Architects, The Houl sits within a concave cranny on a west-facing slope overlooking the spectacular River Ken valley and the ridges of the Rhinns of Kells hills. 

Emerging from the contours of an elevated and exposed Dumfriesshire hillside, The Houl is not only a fine contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Scottish 'longhouse' but also a net zero carbon dwelling that doesn't wear its progressive eco credentials too visibly on its sleeve

Designed as a single storey family home by (and for) Simon Winstanley of Castle Douglas based-Simon Winstanley Architects, The Houl sits within a concave cranny on a west-facing slope overlooking the spectacular River Ken valley and the ridges of the Rhinns of Kells hills

The low slung and streamlined design uses a lightweight steel and timber frame construction, with cedar weatherboard cladding - untreated to allow weathering to a natural silver grey colour - and long monopitched roofs, finished in pre-weathered grey zinc

In addition to its sustainable approach to construction (where all excavated material was re-used on the site), energy efficient systems are also central to the design raison d'être

The airtight house achieves net zero carbon emissions by means of PassivHaus standards of insulation in the walls and roof, augmented by a reflective thermal membrane on the inner and outer faces of the timber kitThe airtight house achieves net zero carbon emissions by means of PassivHaus standards of insulation in the walls and roof, augmented by a reflective thermal membrane on the inner and outer faces of the timber kit

The principal open plan living areas are arranged along the contour of the site to take full advantage of the views across the valley, whereas the ancillary spaces are recessed to the rearThe principal open plan living areas are arranged along the contour of the site to take full advantage of the views across the valley, whereas the ancillary spaces are recessed to the rear

The main living area of the house in Dumfriesshire

The kitchen

Photo credit: Andrew Lee