Carmody Groarke propose an innovative plan to preserve a historic house in Scotland
London-based architecture firm Carmody Groarke has proposed a design for an innovative architectural preservation method to protect a historic house in Scotland designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The ingenious transparent cloak will cover the house while it undergoes restoration and become a long-term solution to its maintenance. Simon Skinner, the National Trust for Scotland’s Chief Executive, described Carmody Groarke’s structure as a ’beautifully designed’ ’porous cage’.
The listed house, which was designed and built between 1902 and 1904, was very experimental in style for its time – its smooth, plain exterior of Portland cement contradicted the decorative Victorian and Georgian domestic architectural styles. However, positioned up high on the land overlooking the Firth of Clyde in Helensburgh, Mackintosh’s Hill House has always been susceptible to the weathering effects of the sea and the wind. The cement surface that makes the house so unique has suffered under the elements and is extremely deteriorated.
Built for the publisher Walter Blackie, the house is considered to be one of Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest pieces of architecture. Carmody Groarke’s design will importantly allow this national treasure to remain open to visitors throughout its period of renovation, enabling the public to witness and appreciate the conservation efforts: ‘The National Trust of Scotland are adopting a very bold approach to the conservation of the Hill House; one that is radical and experimentative in seeking new methods to extend the lifespan of our heritage, and one that invites public interaction and interpretation of these processes,’ says Andy Groarke.
After receiving an initial grant from the Getty Conservation Institute towards the project, now the National Trust for Scotland will be working with NTS USA Foundation to launch fundraising efforts in 2018 to raise further required funds to employ Carmody Groarke’s innovative plan to save Hill House.