HOME: Marchwell

Marchwell House, Silverburn

Designed by Morris and Steedman architects, famous in the 1950s and 60s for designing a range of Modernist buildings, especially domestic properties. They designed some of the most radical architecture in Scotland during this post-war period. Their second commissioned house has featured in this project already – Wilson House, Lasswade – but my favourite is Marchwell, Silverburn, in the foothills of the Pentlands.

Built in 1964, it’s created in the form of a “white-walled spiral”* that is integrated with the garden wall, leaving the front door as the only exit point. The curved glazed colonnade acts like a sundial as light moves around the south facing building.

Sited with a main road close by, the original owners had young children so shelter was important. Standing alone on an open hillside, the design echoes traditional circular sheep shelters found across Britain. That’s the ideal it represents to me – a C20th minimalist shelter; crafted domestic insulation from the modern world.

Which is great until you fancy a chat / need to borrow a cup of sugar from the next door neighbours.

* To find out more, go to Historic Scotland feature: http://www.msastudio.co.uk/M&SFEATURE_30_1_07.pdf

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