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Sutherland Hussey Harris plans new homes overlooking 18th hole at St Andrews

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Sutherland Hussey Harris has submitted plans for four townhouses overlooking the 18th fairway of the historic Old Course golf course at St Andrews in Scotland

According to the Edinburgh-based practice, each of the 210m² three-bed homes will be made from handmade clay bricks and feature a ‘tower-like element’.

In 2013 the site’s owners Athole Reid and Gillian Aspin asked architect Cooper Cromar to drawn up a feasibility study for proposals to replace an existing 1960s house on the plot, known as Fairways, with flats and a townhouse – a plan the local council agreed to in principle.

Four years later the same clients approached project manager Michael Jones Associates to run a limited design competition, subsequently won by Sutherland Hussey Harris.

The winning design, which has now been lodged with Fife Council, boasts a ‘monolithic façade treatment with punched openings to meld into the existing historical context’. The scheme also includes ‘generous’ terraces ‘from each living space to enjoy outside entertainment and views of the golf’.

However, the Scottish Daily Mail recently reported, that local residents had already raised concerns about the impact of the scheme on views of the famous and much-photographed Swilcurn Bridge spanning the 18th hole’s water hazard.

The paper said the ‘classic view with the stone crossing could be dwarfed’ by the plans, quoting planning convener of the community council Penny Uprichard as saying: ‘Hundreds and possibly thousands of people take photographs from the Swilcan Bridge during the year, and from the steps to the first tee from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

‘Many of them will not wish to include the proposed buildings in their photographs as they are not typical of St Andrews, nor of the conservation area.’

Practice co-founder Charles Hussey said: ’We work frequently in sensitive heritage locations in Scotland and throughout the world. Our approach to designing modern buildings within these environments is always to thoroughly examine the context and use this to develop our ideas. 

’When working in a location such as this, right next to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, it can be difficult to please everyone’s tastes. We have worked carefully with Fife Council, local stakeholders and the client to develop a design we feel is suited to the context and we would refer anyone interested in exploring this further to our design statement (see attached).’

A future timescale for the plans is not yet known but construction is not likely to begin until after 2021.

01 from swilken bridge

01 from swilken bridge

The architect’s view

Overlooking the 18th fairway of the Old Course at St Andrews, the site also has magnificent views over the links coastal landscape towards the sea.

The townhouses are organised so that one taller, tower like element addresses the urban setting facing towards the town centre, with a row of three similar units stepped back along the site looking across the golf course.

The palette of materials has been chosen to complement both the immediate context and the wider streetscape of St Andrews. They are chosen because they are traditional, durable materials of a neutral, warm grey/cream colouring.

Handmade clay bricks have been chosen for their rich texture. The natural colouring of these clay bricks vary subtly and are available in a colour range tonally similar to the sandstone of neighbouring buildings.

Horizontal banding across window reveals and lintels is created using terrazzo. This material has the strength of concrete, which gives the rationale for its structural use, but has a quality of stone, like that of granite, which provides a finesse for these articulated areas.

All roofs are proposed to be finished with a low maintenance gravel roof.

Window frames, detailing, garage doors, screens and gates will be finished in bronze, which provides a tactile warmth and establishes a high quality finish.

St andrews suhuha painting

St andrews suhuha painting

Project data

Location St Andrews, Scotland
Type of project Residential
Architect Sutherland Hussey Harris
Structural engineer Ramage Young
M&E consultant Design ME
Quantity surveyor Michael Jones Associates
CDM adviser RGA
Gross internal floor area Four townhouses, each approx 210m²



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Readers' comments (1)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    -probably the toughest site in the world to get anything that could attract universal approval.
    Even Aalto himself would be struggling.

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