West Croftmore sits within the Pitylouish Estate on the River Spey, located near Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands.
One of a cluster of buildings scattered across the estate, the building is a former agricultural store, constructed in a robust manner that reflects it’s orignal use, including thick solid masonry walls and a plan free from internal partitions and structural elements. This was done in order to provide an easily accessible and flexible arrangement that historically allowed for a variety of uses depending on the seasons, ranging from providing seasonal shelter to livestock, to the accommodation of agricultural equipment.
More recently, the building had surcummed to the climate, and was beginning to deteriorate as it shifted and showed evidence of structural weakness.
As a result of this, a gradually evolving brief for the project subsequently settled on two distinct phases. Firstly, the building as a whole was to be made stable and water tight in order to prevent further damage, and provide a stable environment in which further internal works could take place. Secondly, the single volume of the barn was split into two distinct spaces, a painter’s studio for the owner, and an adjoining volume used as storage for both the neighbouring studio and for agricultural items still required by the estate.
The painter’s studio consists of a large open plan volume, served by a series of new roof lights that allow for the control of natural light and a small kitchen and shower room. On the floor above, a mezzanine level provides space for a bedroom that overlooks the studio and has views across the nearby Cairngorm’s.
As well as providing occasional accommodation for the owner, an early ambition was that the studio will be made available to fellow artists as part of residency programmes. A robust palette of harwearing materials was therefore selected as well as the reinforcement of all walls and ceilings to allow for the hanging of work. Exposed services were introduced throughout, intended to remain as flexible as possible in accommodating future changes and additions to the space, whilst capable of allowing for a wide variety of artistic working practices.
Externally, the building intentionally offers little evidence of the refurbishement, aside from general making good, with the only substantial addition being the introduction of planted beds intended for the growing of vegetables for residents of the studio and their guests.
Construction commenced in October 2017 and is due for completion in September 2018.
Construction photography by Robin von Einsiedel.