Monachyle Beag is a new-build hunting lodge located in a remote and mountainous location in the Scottish Highlands. It was conceived to provide luxury accommodation for hunting parties as well as utility space for storage of estate ATV vehicles and other services.
The project at Monachyle Beag was to create a new sporting estate within a 1000 acre upland holding in the Trossachs. The centrepiece is a new hunting lodge, which is perched on the edge of a mountainside looking over Loch Doine and to the upper reaches of Balquhidder Glen. The brief required a building to house vehicles at one end and a luxury living area at the other end. The lodge sits isolated on the hillside, a small forestry road was specially constructed to the site and the planning permission included a five-year planting plan to link areas of native woodland across the estate.
The architectural language of the lodge is that of the agricultural barn and the use of galvanizing was not merely due to its protection of the exposed steelwork but also as part of a utilitarian aesthetic and muted colour palate that allows the building to blend into its landscape setting. The entire structural system of the building, from its framing, bracing and profiled roof deck soffit is all galvanized and visible to visitors. The timber cladding was specially treated in a preservative that bleached the timber a light grey, again to harmonise with the galvanizing and to further articulate the utilitarian design language of this building.
The lodge is separated into three main elements – an oversailing barn-like structure under a sedum roof that minimises the visual impact of the glazing, while also creating covered and sheltered spaces to view the landscape and to provide shelter for guests when coming off the mountain. The inner structure is separated into two elements: a solid utility section, housing vehicles, entrances and plant rooms; and a glazed box at the far side of the building that forms the main living area, enjoying 270 degree views of the surrounding landscape. This inner structure is uniformly coloured in a flat grey to accentuate the shadows; the outer skin is a more highly textured, sun bleached Scottish larch.
The utilitarian, rural architectural language is unfiltered; the lodge appears as an agricultural shed to the untrained eye and this was the most significant factor in the project gaining planning permission in such a remote location within the National Park.