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Elie House by Hanson Architects celebrates material and spatial contrasts

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This 355m² family home overlooks the Elie golf course in Fife

Two storeys have been organised around a central, triple-height, top-lit hallway which splits the house in two along a north-south axis, allowing spaces to be subdivided depending on how many family members or guests are staying. Elements such as underfloor heating are also on separate circuits so certain areas can be shut off.

The standard house model is flipped, with five bedrooms located on the ground floor, and the living room on the first floor with two terraces facing the coast to the south and the garden to the north. 

Dsc 6121

Dsc 6121

Source: Davide Saibene

Architect’s view

In 2012, our client purchased a 1960s house overlooking Earlsferry Golf Course on Grange Road near Elie in Fife, and commissioned us to replace it with a new five-bedroom home for her family. The site has magnificent views over the golf course, the town and the North Sea beyond on the horizon. Neighbouring properties are an eclectic mix of old and new houses of varying size and quality with no uniform style.

Fife Council’s planning advice was straightforward; to respect the established building lines and heights of Grange Road and to not significantly increase the building’s footprint.

The floors are linked by a metal stairway which draws you up through the space to the first floor under a single sheet of glass forming an enormous rooflight. The zinc roof is low pitched and the roof folds are directly reflected in the ceiling angles below, forming a unified living space under a tall, tent-like structure. The low pitch of the roof responds to the gentle rolling topology of the surrounding landscape and also maximises the area of the first floor.

447 c 100 stripped

447 c 100 stripped

Ground floor plan

The house is faced in ’K Rend’ insulated rough-render with cast stone window surrounds, metal-framed windows, timber doors and a large central rooflight (the largest ever in a Scottish domestic project). The render-clad chimney is located in the heart of the house and serves a wood-burning stove.

We made great efforts editing and simplifying the house’s design, deliberately using a limited palette of materials, controlling the light within a highly insulated structure. The house respects its neighbours in terms of scale and uses facing materials that reflect those used traditionally in Fife. The house juxtaposes cosy, snug bedrooms with spectacular flowing living spaces.

Andrew Hanson, founder, Hanson Architects

447 c 202 stripped

447 c 202 stripped


Project data

Start on site November 2014
Completion August 2017
Gross internal floor area 355m2
Form of contract or procurement route SBC/Q/SCOT - 2011
Architect Hanson Architects
Executive architect Paul Tierney
Structural engineer Create Engineering LLP, Edinburgh
M&E consultant Contractor Design
Quantity surveyor / cost consultant CQS Consultants Ltd
Project manager Hanson Architects
Approved building inspector Fife Council Building Control
Main contractor AGB Developments Ltd 
CAD software used Vectorworks
Annual CO2 emissions 15.2kg/m2 

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