Settlement, Darklass

In 2006 Niall McLaughlin Architects were approached by a local landowner to design a small rural development in the North East of Scotland, approximately six miles from the coastal town of Nairn.  The scheme consists of a loose gathering of six detached houses around a central open space which operates as an informal village green.  The rural location of the site requires a unique sense of self and community and so as well as giving each house a sizable private garden we have incorporated a communal gathering space for the residents in amongst the houses.

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The design of the houses draws on local vernacular architecture in order to retain the heritage of this site. The houses are low built structures with pitched roofs, thick rendered walls and prominent chimneys. The internal layout of the houses also take their cue from the simplicity of the rural houses and farmhouses found in Switzerland and Sweden.

The houses each comprise of two distinct volumes, with a generous high-ceilinged, open-plan living area and a two-storey section that houses the bedrooms and bathrooms.  This distinction in the internal layout serves to reduce the impact of the housing on the site, giving the impression of a cluster of smaller dwellings.