Moniack Mhor Project Details

Entrance

Entrance

Front View

Front View

Reciprocal

Reciprocal

Design in brief:

Timber, turf, stone and straw will be harvested locally with the support of Abriachan Forest Trust, Reelig Community Woodland and local farmers. It is a single storey structure of roundwood larch post and beam construction, with an interlocking double reciprocal roof incorporating two roof lights. The floorplan is based on a mirrored Fibonacci spiral, the embedded pattern of growth through much of nature.

The internal timber frame is wrapped by strawbale (not loadbearing), rendered externally with traditional hot lime render. The roundwood frame is exposed internally, as are the main ceiling timbers, finished internally with either lime or clay breathable finishes. The strawbales are raised off the ground on a low stonebuilt stem wall incorporating ample ventilation to the underfloor space. It is essential for moist air to be free draining from the base of the straw to ensure adequate service life.

The roof is similarly insulated with strawbale above the roundwood sarking (rendered underneath), covered with a waterproof membrane, geotextile and turf. The floor is also insulated underneath, by means of trapped air between the joists to avoid possible problems with rodents.

Various features such as cills, chimney seat, door surrounds etc, will feature natural stone and wany edge timber as appropriate to match the main structural timbers. The stonebuilt chimney incorporates a south-facing caithness flag bench seat externally, snuggled in an alcove and benefitting from both solar heat stored in the stonework and heat from the burners when lit in colder weather. Internally similar provision is made for storage of firewood, which promotes efficient burning by thoroughly drying it before use.

 

Porch with benches

Porch with benches

Cutaway

Cutaway

Floorplan

Floorplan

The Site:

Moniack Mhor stands on an exposed site, sloping gently to the South West, on the hill overlooking Ben Wyvis, with extensive views to the distant hills across the Beauly Firth.This, combined with the high vantage are suitable for siting a passive solar building, with the large South facing windows also affording some of the best views from the site.At the request of the centre, we shall not be able to enter their buildings during the week, to allow the fee-paying students the peace to nurture their creativity. However we have our own shower, kitchen and toilets, and can still pick up wi-fi!
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Approximate Schedule:

Building and weather is notoriously unpredictable, especially in the North of Scotland, so bear in mind this can only be a rough guide. The erection of the roof early on in the build helps a lot!

June:

  • Camp Setup ~ tensegrity workspace, main yurt, shower & kitchen, compost loo.
  • Ground Prep ~ clearing turf & topsoil, marking out founds
  • Stonework ~ column bases, drystane stem wall, maybe freestone quarrying too
  • Roundwood Prep ~ brashing, moving to site, stripping bark etc.

July:

  • Roundwood Framing ~ joints, erection
  • Reciprocal Roof ~ erection of frame
  • Stonework ~ completion of founds & chimney
  • Floor ~ joists & floorboards
  • Roof ~ roundwood sarking, straw, liner & turfing
  • Strawbale Walls ~ construction, compression, prep for render
  • Windows ~ framing for strawbale, glass fitting

August:

  • External Render ~ traditional Scottish Hot Lime, preparation & application
  • External Finishing ~ traditional Hot Lime washes
  • Internal Render ~ clay or lime finish (TBC)
  • Internal Finishing ~ decoration, floor finish, solar lighting system etc.

September:

  • Anything we haven’t finished yet!