Scandanavian splendor – Stoneywood new build scoops top Aberdeen Society of Architects award




By Joanne Warnock

Nestled in a wooded area of Stoneywood, sits this phenomenal contemporary sustainable house, with solar energy, triple glazing and air source heat pumps it all makes this an ECO ‘A’ rated award winning property.

Designed by Aberdeenshire-based Mac Architects, the stunning home was crowned Best Residential Building as well as bagging the Supreme award from the Aberdeen Society of Architects last month. It has also been automatically nominated for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award, which is given to the best building in Scotland. Local firm MAC Architects scooped the Aberdeen awards in February and put it down to their use of innovative 3D technology.

Partners Jonathan Cheyne, 31 and Blair Milne, 32 both from Aberdeen and Alumni of Robert Gordon’s University, started the firm in 2011 with the ethos of being “one step ahead of the competition.” Specialising in cutting edge 3D BIM (Building Information Modelling) software, it is one of only a handful of architects in Scotland to offer it as an integrated service to its clients.

Jonathan said: “Winning this award is the icing on the cake. Our inspiration came from the client’s brief of creating a modern, energy efficient design while maximising privacy and open plan living.”

He said: “We use the very latest 3D software to create a virtual construction model of the property, it helps the client see what their home will really look like and takes away any risk that it won’t meet expectations. It can let us see how the sunlight will affect the structure during different parts of the day and we can show the client inside the building on a virtual walk through, with a full 360 tour capability.”

Talking of the design, David McClean, head of Architecture at Robert Gordon’s University and on the panel of judges, said it “creates a striking piece of architecture built to very exacting standards, which creates an elegant and highly functional family home.”

Taking three years from first conception to complete, the owners moved into the house in May 2015 after working closely with MAC to come up with their dream home.

The owners said: “It’s always been a dream of ours and as soon as we met we were saying that one day we will build our own house. The type of house and room layout that we wanted could not be found anywhere here. Which is why we wanted to design our own house. Luckily we both like the same style of architecture and interiors so it was easy to know what we were after.”

Full length windows at kitchen
Full length windows at kitchen

The house is full of hidden surprises and several Eco features, including triple glazing, air source heat pumps and solar panels. Sustainable wood has been used to clad the exterior and it benefits throughout from underfloor heating, making this a highly efficient SAP ‘A’ rated building.

In line with their holistic approach to sustainability, MAC combined large areas of glazing with a super-insulated timber clad envelope.

Jonathan Cheyne said: “The building’s shell needs to be able to stand up to Aberdeen weather conditions, so the Accoya wood cladding has been coated with a translucent Teknos finish. Accoya is virtually rot proof and is guaranteed for 50 years above ground, ensuring that the home will need very little maintenance over the coming years.”

“Utilities costs are rising continually, so it makes sense when designing to maximise sustainable credentials. Ultimately we would like to design each building to be completely self-sufficient and carbon neutral. The average home in Scotland will have a ‘D’ rating. With score of 92 on a scale of 1-100, Westwood Villa gets an ‘A’. We don’t have a full year’s figures yet but it will be almost self-sufficient.”

Originally from Sweden, the owner wanted to have “all the things that are standard in a Swedish house”, a separate laundry room and sauna have been included along with an outdoor hot-tub.

The huge windows and dazzling white interiors really capture the Scandinavian contemporary style of the house, while still having an elegant feel.

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The bespoke staircase was engineered to give a floating appearance in keeping with the minimalist design of the house. While the dark wood of the stairs offers an eye-catching contrast to the white walls, a frame-less glass handrail with secret fixings and integrated LED lighting maintains a contemporary aesthetic with practicality.

Full length floor-ceiling doors have been used for the entire house, with a lacquered finish and integrated shadow gaps. Detailed without door frames and skirting boards, this feature offers a neat, modern finish.

The upstairs seating area feels secluded and cosy and leads onto the glass balcony. Extra storage has been added throughout to help achieve the Scandinavian uncluttered look.

And if you thought the house couldn’t be any more modern, there’s also a few gadgets included. An integrated music system is piped through ceiling speakers and a vacuum system discreetly hides in each room. “We have an app that can tell us what temperature the rooms are when we are out of the house!”

Jonathan Cheyne said: “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved at Westwood Villa and to receive recognition from the Aberdeen Society of Architects is the icing on the cake.”