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Marlaw by Gareth Hoskins Architects, Glasgow

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A new private house within the Pollokshields conservation area, a garden suburb with some of Glasgow’s finest Victorian villas

The site was formerly the orchard of the Grade-A listed building adjacent, and had become an overgrown vacant plot bounded on three sides by mature trees in existing rear gardens, with a wooded public park falling away from the western boundary.

As well as the significant cross-fall, a key challenge of the site was eradicating the Japanese knotweed which had encroached from the adjacent land. Controlled under environmental legislation, this ‘extremely invasive and competitive plant’ requires very careful handling in its removal.

The dwelling was designed as a contemporary interpretation of the ‘Grand Villa’, with sliding panels of limestone, render and glass contained within a folding precast concrete band. To avoid overlooking, accommodation is arranged around private courtyard gardens that reflect the U-shaped plan of the adjacent villa.

The ground floor is terraced down to the front entrance in response to the sloping site. Steps continue from the landscaped courtyard through the fully glazed family living areas, linking internal and external spaces. 

The building sits at the centre of the site, set back from the public park to create a clear approach, and the existing, listed boundary wall line is >> continued from the avenue into the main body of the building to form a covered entrance area and define a secure line between front and back. As you enter the building, daylight has been maximised in the double-height reception area and entertainment suite, with cantilevered walnut staircases and a glazed lift providing access to bedrooms. The house has been arranged so that the entertainment suite is separated from the family areas, connected only in the entrance hall and with a bridge at first floor level.

The key family space is the kitchen/dining and living area at the heart of the house, with sliding glass doors providing a direct connection to the courtyard. A fitness suite with pool, gym, sauna and steam room can be accessed either from these family spaces or by a discreet staircase from the bedrooms above.

At first floor level bedrooms have been arranged around the courtyard, with a separate guest bedroom facing the front. A wall of glazing in the guest room affords an uninterrupted view of the tree canopy. The master bedroom on the second floor cantilevers over the drive and opens onto a south-facing roof terrace, in response to the client’s desire for sunlight and views across Pollok Country Park to the distant hills. To reduce running costs, the design includes a ground-source heat pump and insulation exceeding Building Regulations requirements.

Chris Coleman-Smith, director, Gareth Hoskins Architects

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