05 Apr 2017

Is this tin house the best designed property in Scotland?

Is this tin house the best designed property in Scotland?

A Scottish luxury cottage which at first glance looks more like a farm shed is up for a top architectural honour.

The Tinhouse on Skye, which is made of corrugated aluminium, is one of 27 projects shortlisted for the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and the Royal Institute of British Architects awards.

Others in contention include: Rockvilla – the National Theatre of Scotland HQ, Glasgow; the Scottish National Waterski Centre, Dunfermline; and Portobello High School, Edinburgh.

Winners will be announced in June.

Contemporary metal

RIAS said the Tinhouse, which cost £110,000 to build, celebrates the corrugated metal sheeting commonly used in agricultural buildings in a contemporary way.

Tinhouse is located on the north-western tip of Skye, and overlooks The Minch, which separates the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

The one-bedroomed house was designed and self-built by its owners Gill Smith and Alan Dickson, founders and directors of Skye-based architect Rural Design.

Mr Dickson said about the nomination:  "We have poured so much energy into the project that it is great to get this recognition.”

Rural Design said the practice is committed to a progressive yet sensitive rural architecture. Each project aims to achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The firm is working on residential and community projects throughout Scotland and abroad.


It describes the Tinhouse  as an essay in landscape, economy, construction and imagination which shares the same design ethic as its neighbouring sister the Wooden House.

It adds: "Where, however, the Wooden House celebrates timber detailing, the Tinhouse celebrates corrugated metal sheeting, commonly used on the agricultural buildings of the rural landscape.

"It does so in a thoroughly contemporary way by using mill-finished corrugated aluminium as the external cladding for both roof and walls. Internally its timber boarding, concrete floor and plywood cabinetry add to the handmade palette giving the house a character that is simultaneously modern and rustic.

"The simple form recalls both the archetypal child’s image of a house and the rural sheds that sit as ghosts in the landscape alongside the ubiquitous white rendered crofthouses."

Materials were mostly chosen to allow for ease of build by just one person. Where greater numbers were required, for example to raise the gable wall panels or install the steel beams, this became a celebration and a social event.

The completed building marked the end of a five-year design-and-build process and the beginning of a new era for the property as a holiday house.

But a stay at the Tinhouse does not come cheap, with a week in 2017 ranging from £795 right up to £1,295 in the festive season.

Scotland's property experts

If you are looking to buy, sell or lease property, Aberdein Considine can offer you the support of some of the most experienced property professionals in the country.

We are also an independent broker of mortgages and can offer home loans without any hidden fees.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, call 0333 0066 333 or click here.

Please correct the errors below before submitting your request:

Get in touch

Our dedicated client contact team prefer to receive enquiries through our contact form. We'll endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours or during the course of the next working day.

Tick this box if you wish to receive news and offers from Aberdein Considine. By doing, you indicate your consent to receiving targeted email marketing messages from us. On each occasion that we contact you in the future, you will be given the option to opt-out from receiving such messages. You may also email marketing@acandco.com at any time to opt-out.

The personal information that you provide to us in this form will only ever be used by Aberdein Considine (as the Data Controller) for the following specifically defined purposes:

  • email you content that you have requested from us
  • with your consent, occasionally email you with targeted information regarding our service offerings
  • continually honour any opt-out request you submit in the future
  • comply with any of our legal and/or regulatory obligations